Wetlands Hearing On Proposed Gas Station Stalls

Monroe Gas LLC is proposing a five-bay gas station with a canopy and kiosk at 528 Monroe Turnpike. The hearing has been postponed to a date in February.

Public interest in a proposal to build a five-bay gas station at 528 Monroe Turnpike was building momentum Wednesday night as 26 neighbors filled seats in the Council Chambers of for an Inland Wetlands Commission hearing on the plan. But the potential clash soon puttered out when the attorney for the applicant asked for a delay.

Town Engineer Scott Schatzlein said Monroe Gas LLC did not comply with section 8.3 of the Inland Wetlands regulations requiring notice to the water company and the Commissioner of Public Health whenever there is an application for a property where a portion is within a water company's watershed.

Hurd's Brook runs behind 528 Monroe Turnpike and spills into Far Mill River on its way to Shelton Reservoir — owned by Aquarion Water Co.

Schatzlein said the applicant did what it was supposed to do, but called it a timing issue. According to the regulation, "notice shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall be mailed on or before the date of the application."

Steven Studer, of Berchem, Moses & Devlin, the attorney for the applicant, had asked for a postponement to February and noted that a number of neighbors took the time to attend Wednesday night's hearing.

"I apologize for any inconvenience," he said. "Anyone with questions, thoughts or comments, I would gladly talk to you in the lobby."

One resident approached Studer in the lobby and the attorney jotted down his contact information.

The property is located across from Shopping Center and is between a and a . It used to be a home-heating oil terminal from 1962 - 1988 before there was environmental remediation and fill was brought in, according to Tim Onderko, an engineer hired by Monroe Gas LLC, who said the parcel has since been dormant.

It is owned by 528 Monroe Turnpike LLC of which David Sippin is a member.

The architect, Antinozzi Associates of Bridgeport, plans to design a plan with an 18-foot-high canopy, a kiosk with a bathroom for the attendant, and a parking area. The gas station would have five bays with a capacity for 10 cars at a time. It would not carry diesel fuel for trucks.

While the attendant in the kiosk would sell items like gum and motor oil, Onderko said no convenience store and no service garage are being proposed as part of the plan.

"It's about as bare bones as you can get," he said.

Onderko said a landscaping plan that includes deciduous trees, ornamental grasses and other plantings would be a significant visual upgrade. If it is approved, Onderko said the hours would likely be 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The architectural plan is coming before the Architectural Review Board on Tuesday night. In addition to Inland Wetlands, the proposal also needs Planning & Zoning Commission and Connecticut Department of Transportion approvals. Route 111 is a state highway.

The Regulations

Here is the full version of section 8.3 of the town's inland wetlands regulations:

When an application is filed to conduct or cause to be conducted a regulated activity upon an inland wetland or watercourse, any portion of which is within the watershed of a water company as defined in section 25-32a of the Connecticut General Statutes, the applicant shall provide written notice of the application to the water company and the Commissioner of Public Health in a format prescribed by said commissioner provided such water company or said Commissioner has filed a map showing the boundaries of the watershed on the land records of the municipality in which the application is made and with the inland wetlands agency of such a municipality. Such notice shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall be mailed on or before the date of the application. The water company and the Commissioner of Public Health through a representative, may appear and be heard at any hearing on the application. Documentation of such notice shall be provided to the Commission.

Bill Bittar January 12, 2012 at 10:03 PM
During the ARB hearing the engineer stressed that there would not be diesel fuel for trucks — though, yes, cars do not use diesel.
Mario Miscione January 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Sorry but I feel strongly that we don't need another gas station. More businesses in town are clearly a good thing but we have enough gas stations now.
Steve Kirsch January 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM
What is the tax income from the property today? What would the tax income be if the property was developed as requested? What other types of business or buildings could be placed on the property based on its size, location, and zoning that exists today? What types of business or buildings could be placed on the property based on its size if the zoning was changed to something else? Until we know the answers to those questions, I don't see how we can discuss other options for the site.
PAUL January 13, 2012 at 01:10 AM
how many gas stations do we really need in that small area. there is a shell right next door and a citgo a block down, not to mention the mess that has moved into the old bp station. this town is getting out of control fast and we the people are letting it happen.
Christine E. January 13, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I know a few people who drive Diesel Volkswagon Jetta's.


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