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Gas Station/Convenience Store Proposal Gains Wetlands Permit



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Gas Station/Convenience Store Proposal Gains Wetlands Permit

By Andrew Gorosko

The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) has approved a wetlands permit for a firm that proposes replacing its existing small gas station on Church Hill Road with a new larger gas station/convenience store complex at the same site.

In a 6-to-0 vote at a September 27 session, IWC members approved the wetlands permit for CPCI, LLC, of Trumbull, which owns the Church Hill Gas Stop gas station at 47 Church Hill Road, across the street from St Rose of Lima Church. Richard Wiehl is listed as the project’s applicant.

The project has been under review by local land use officials since 2004.

CPCI, also known as Consumers Petroleum, owns a small gas station at the site where employees customarily pump gasoline for customers who remain in their vehicles. The existing gas pumps are very near Church Hill Road. At times, motorists who are waiting in line for gas to be pumped into their vehicles form lines that extend out onto Church Hill Road, creating hazardous traffic conditions on that busy street.

The new gas station/convenience store complex would be connected to Church Hill Road by a clearly marked two-lane driveway divided by a small traffic island. The driveway would lead to an area behind the new convenience store where eight gas-pump islands would be located beneath a canopy. Parking for the convenience store would be located north of the store, well away from Church Hill Road.

Stormwater control devices would be installed on the 1.1-acre site, said Conservation Official Rob Sibley.

Some existing wetlands on the site would be altered by earthen filling. The property would be landscaped with various plantings to improve its appearance.

CPCI would replace existing underground gasoline storage tanks there with new tanks within five years, provided that it receives all required permits for the redevelopment project.

Besides the IWC approval, the applicant requires approval for the project from the Borough Zoning Commission. The applicant may need to modify the borough zoning regulations in order to construct the gas station/convenience store project.

In conjunction with obtaining the wetlands permit for the project, the applicant has offered to perform some off-site restoration work at a town-owned open space parcel in Sandy Hook. The town would supervise that work.

That open space land is near the confluence of the Pootatuck River and the Housatonic River, adjacent to athletic fields lying south of a residential subdivision at Bridge End Farm Lane.

The town acquired that open space in the past as part of the residential subdivision approval.

The applicant would flatten some earthen mounds on the site and fill in some holes.

The many invasive plant species prevalent in that area would be cut down, with their woody sections chipped and then spread out across a walking path to be created there. Existing piles of vegetative debris in that area would be removed. The work is intended to improve the physical quality and public usability of the open space area.

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