Get Ready To Stop & Pump
by Allan Appel | Sep 19, 2012 12:00 pm
Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Dwight
Soon you’ll not only be able to stop and shop, but stop and pump.
At least that seemed to be the prognosis for a proposed Stop & Shop gas station after a City Plan Commission meeting Tuesday night.
Commissioners took major steps toward approving the gas station planned for the corner of Elm and Orchard to begin doling out the discount fuel possibly as early as this coming spring.
The gas station would operate like the one already by the Amity Stop & Shop: You get a point for every dollar you spend at the supermarket, and those accumulated points add up to cents off the gallon at the proposed gas pumps.
By a unanimous vote, City Plan commissioners Tuesday night approved the sale for one dollar by the city to the Greater Dwight Development Corporation (GDDC) for the two long abandoned fenced in lots at 561 Elm and 485 Orchard, adjoining the Stop & Shop supermarket. GDDC would rent the lots to Stop & Shop for the gas station.
On this site Stop & Shop is planning to install its gas station. It will have the facility’s signature appearance, such as the nearest one, on Amity Road. Click here for a picture and for a story on the January public meeting that elicited overwhelming support for the proposal.
When the station is built, in the view of residents, it will help anchor the store in the neighborhood while paying rent to the GDDC to help support its social service programs. The long abandoned property will also be paying taxes to the city for the first time in decades.
“It’s a win, win, win for everybody,” said GDDC board member Marcus Paca (pictured with GDDC’s Linda Townsend Maier).
By another vote the commissioners approved two minor but necessary amendments to the planned development district that originally created the plaza and parking lot at 150 Whalley. Because the gas station to be plunked in the northeast corner of the lot will eat up parking spots, commissioners voted to modify the original PDD by reducing the required ratio of spots to total acreage of the lot.
A survey commissioned by the GDDC found that even at peak weekday and weekend hours, the 353 spots are underutilized—by 50 percent or more, according to the City Plan report.
Alternate City Plan Commissioner Kevin DiAdamo asked whether the other stores on the plaza are all leased out.
The answer was yes. It’s a huge lot, said City Plan staffer Tom Talbot.
The commissioners also reduced slightly the current required size of the parking spaces in a future restriping to nine by 18 feet.
The proposed gas station will lose about 14 parking spots for the lot, said John Plante of Langan Engineering, who conducted the parking study.
Access to the future station will be only from within the parking lot, not directly from either Elm or Orchard. That was one of the recommendations that came out of the January public meeting, said Paca.
Four speakers spoke on behalf of the project, among them Whalley Avenue Special Services District Executive Director Sheila Masterson. She and others cited overwhelming community support for the project. “It will answer a need for affordable gas in this urban neighborhood,” she said.
“It can’t come soon enough,” said Kate Walton, a 33-year resident of the Dwight neighborhood.
Paca said he currently drives to West Haven to get his cheap gas. Another advantage he cited is that soon he and everyone else will be able to save on those emissions.
First the PDD changes and the sale must be approved by the full Board of Aldermen; that is expected to take place next month.
Then Stop & Shop returns to City Plan for a detailed site plan review that focuses on the gas station and matters such as lighting and buffering trees and vegetation.
If all goes well, construction should start in the winter and ribbon cutting in the spring, said Stop & Shop real estate official Marc Marrocco.
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Well I’m glad to see something positive come out of the Planning Commission.
Although I would really like to know where their getting these statistics on parking. 50% under utilized?? As much as I agree that this lot is more than accommodating for the use - where are these outrageous percentages coming from.
An absolute disaster for the neighborhood.
This is right next to housing where hundreds of young children live.
Should we write off a few cases of future cancer in our young kids, in order to “create” 5 jobs?
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Hate to point out the obvious here - but if this cancer station had been proposed next to buildings full of wealthy kids, the corporation/agency proposing it would have long been run out of this city for good.
The 2007 neighborhood plan, designed with input from hundreds of low-income residents, proposed housing and park space here. City Hall (and its local partners) have steamrolled these concerns over, and neglected to bring up the Cancer issue - as per the usual process here.