Stop & Shop wants to construct a five-bay gas station with 10 pumps and a kiosk to provide discounts to its supermarket's card-carrying customers. It would be built on vacant property at 528 Monroe Turnpike — right next to a Shell station owned by Bernard Prushko, who won't allow it without a fight.
The proposal won Inland Wetlands and Zoning Board of Appeals approvals and is now before the Planning & Zoning Commission. Prushko is suing the ZBA and the applicant, Monroe Gas, LLC, to overturn the ZBA's decision.
In the lawsuit, filed at Superior Court in Bridgeport by Attorney Keith Ainsworth on Dec. 13, B&J Realty Corporation is named as the plaintiff. The Secretary of the State's website lists Prushko as president of B&J and his wife, Julie, as secretary.
The Monroe Zoning Board of Appeals decided to permit a retail gasoline fueling facility at 528 Monroe Turnpike by a vote of 3-2 on Nov. 19.
According to the lawsuit, "B&J will be substantially and adversely affected by the actions" of the ZBA.
The proposed facility will "increase traffic and decrease traffic safety by reducing traffic turning lane storage capacity and increasing congestion directly adjacent to and in front of B&J's property, thereby making entry and exit from the property less safe which will turn into a decrease in property value," the suit claims.
B&J contends that the 3-2 approval by the ZBA is not legal because of violation of Connecticut General Statute 8-7, which states, "the concurring vote of four members of the zoning board of appeals shall be necessary to ... decide in favor of the applicant in any matter upon which it is required to pass under a bylaw, ordinance, rule or regulation ..."
"The Commission's approval of the Application was invalid and/or illegal under existing law in that insufficient votes were rendered in favor for the Board to approve the Application," the lawsuit says.
The suit claims the ZBA's actions were "arbitrary and capricious" in that it failed to apply to correct standard in its own Zoning Code section 117-3003, because "the Board Chair specifically instructed the members during deliberations that environmental issues were beyond its authority and that only traffic safety was to be considered, despite the fact that the Monroe Zoning Code section 117-3303 specifically requires that 'in acting under such applications [under 14-321] the Zoning Board of Appeals shall consider the relationship of the proposed use or operation with respect to schools, churches, theaters, playhouses or other places of public gathering; traffic conditions, intersecting streets, width of highway, and effect on public travel, and in general, that such use at such proposed location will not imperil the safety and welfare of the public, or have a detrimental effect on the value of nearby properties or development thereof."
The suit concludes, "The Board impermissibly failed to consider potential impacts of the proposed gasoline fueling station on nearby drinking water aquifers and surface water supplies, substantial evidence of which presented to the Board, declaring that it was not within their jurisdiction.
"As a result of the foregoing, the rights of the Plaintiff were abrogated by the Board, the Board's decision was arbitrary, capricious and in violation of law and the decision should be overturned by the Court."