‘Hawleyville Station’ Project Gains Planning & Zoning Approval
Following a public hearing during which several Hawleyville property owners offered their views on the redevelopment plans at hand, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members on February 7 unanimously approved a project known as Mitchell's Hawleyville Station for a site at 26 Hawleyville Road (State Route 25), immediately north of the Housatonic Railroad’s rail freight line.
The complex will include a 3,277-square-foot building to serve as a gas station, convenience store, and 20-seat cafe. The structure will be built in the style of the old Hawleyville train station, which formerly stood next to the Housatonic Railroad’s rail line.
The applicant for the project is NEMCO Limited Partnership of Danbury. NEMCO is an acronym for Norbert E. Mitchell Company. P&Z Chairman Don Mitchell is no relation to the applicant.
Voting in favor of the redevelopment project, which lies in the Hawleyville Center Design District (HCDD) zone were Don Mitchell, Jim Swift, Corinne Cox, Barbara Manville, and Roy Meadows.
On February 6, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) unanimously approved issuing NEMCO a “certificate of location” for a gas station, determining that the 26 Hawleyville Road site meets the public safety criteria pertaining to the presence of a gas station.
The facility will have four self-serve double-sided gasoline pumps situated beneath a 2,500-square-foot freestanding canopy. A diesel-fuel pump will be situated separately. The complex will be open seven days a week, with initially projected business hours of 5 am to 11 pm.
Civil engineer Russell Posthauer of CCA LLC, representing NEMCO, said the site’s relatively tight layout will not be conducive to large tractor-trailer trucks, which are traveling on I-84, stopping to buy diesel fuel there.
In approving the project, the P&Z granted NEMCO a special zoning permit and a site development plan approval. P&Z members agreed that the project is consistent with the tenets of the 2014 Town Plan of Conservation and Development and with the Newtown Comprehensive Zoning Plan.
Before their vote, the P&Z chairman commented on the redevelopment project. Mr Mitchell said the applicant has handily answered the various questions that were posed by P&Z members.
During the public comment section of the public hearing, Diane Beck of Pheasant Ridge Road asked whether the complex will sell propane to the public. A NEMCO representative responded that the firm has no current plans to sell propane there.
Ms Beck asked why the P&Z should allow another gas station complex to be built at 13 Hawleyville Road, which lies about 2,000 feet south of the NEMCO site. Mr Mitchell responded that if an applicant should seek a gas station for the 3.7-acre site at 13 Hawleyville Road site, that application would be considered on its own merits, separately from the NEMCO application.
In response to a question from a Hawleyville property owner about site lighting at 26 Hawleyville Road, architect Maura Juan of Seventy2 Architects, representing the applicant, responded that the site lighting would be “Dark Sky-compliant,” thus minimizing light spillage onto adjacent properties.
Attorney Thomas Beecher, representing Jeffrey Miller, MD, who is the president of Mission: Allergy Inc, at 28 Hawleyville Road, told P&Z members that Dr Miller does not oppose the redevelopment project at 26 Hawleyville Road. Mr Beecher added, however, that Dr Miller wants to ensure that an existing right-of-way is preserved.
Glenn Hopper, who owns residential property at 24 Hawleyville Road, said that architectural plans presented amount to “a nice building.” Mr Hopper added, however, that no residential property owner wants to have a gas station constructed next door, with the resulting truck traffic created by truckers seeking to buy diesel fuel.
Mr Olson said the project is not designed to attract I-84 truckers to the site to buy diesel fuel. There are facilities at other exits along I-84 that are set up for such truck refueling business, he added.
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