Retail Center Expansion Gains Wetlands Permit

Published: November 03, 2018 at 07:00 am


The firm that is constructing a retail center at 73-75 Church Hill Road, near Exit 10 of Interstate 84, has received a modified wetlands/watercourses protection permit from the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) for an expanded version of the project, which remains under construction.

Following discussion, Sunrise Church Hill Road LLC gained unanimous IWC approval on October 24 for the changes to the construction plans, which would increase the size of the structures built from 12,170 to 12,227 square feet, increase the number of parking spaces from 74 to 113 spaces, and install two drive-up automatic teller machines (ATM) beneath a dual-lane shelter.

The 39 additional parking spaces would increase the paved area at the 3.3-acre site by about 0.34 acres. Engineer Kevin Solli, of Solli Engineering, representing the applicant assured IWC members that the increased development at the site would not adversely affect nearby wetlands/watercourses.

The development of the property has involved major site work, including the rerouting of the nearby Tom Brook to remove an oxbow curve from its course.

The 39 additional parking spaces would be constructed in the area now occupied by the southern end of Edmond Road.

Parallel to the modified wetlands permit, the developer also needs a modified special zoning permit for the features which were approved by the IWC on October 24, and others.

Sunrise Church Hill Road this week submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) an application for such a modified permit. A public hearing on that application is scheduled for 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 15, at Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.

That application seeks formal P&Z approval for expanding the area which holds buildings from 12,170 to 12,227 square feet, increasing planned parking to 113 spaces, adding two drive-up ATM’s, and installing various signage for a Starbucks Coffee drive-through window, plus associated construction work involving grading, drainage, and utilities.

There area 21 properties lying within 500 feet of the site, all of whose owners will be formally notified of the public hearing by mail.

According to the applicant, the building at the site would hold a Starbucks Coffee shop, a restaurant, store space, and some type of financial institution, either a bank or a credit union.

In 2016, the developer sought and received P&Z approval to create a new zone, known as the Exit 10 Commercial Design District (X10-CDD), which allows the project to be constructed at 73 Church Hill Road, which has underlying M-5 (Industrial) zoning, and at 75 Church Hill Road, which has underlying B-2 (General Business) zoning.

Also, through the X10-CDD zoning designation, the developer gained P&Z approval for drive-through window service at a Starbucks Coffee shop to be located at the northwest corner of the retail building. That 2016 development approval was the first time since 1958, when town zoning went into effect, that the P&Z approved drive-through window service for an eatery.

While the retail center is under construction, work also has been underway on a $2.85 million state project that will relocate the southern end of Edmond Road to the west to have it form a conventional four-way signalized intersection with Church Hill Road and Commerce Road. Both the intersection realignment project and the retail center are slated for completion by December.


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