MERIDEN — Neighbors of an approved new retail development on Broad Street are worried construction of the store will bring more foot traffic through their yards and ruin the views from their rear windows.
”I’m going to be looking at an air conditioning unit,” said James Moran, of 98 Gale Ave., who studied the plan.
Moran received a notice when the proposal by Garrett Homes LLC went before the city’s Planning Commission in February. The company plans to raze two homes at 60 and 66 Broad St. to build a 9,100-square-foot retail store. Company representatives did not reveal the end user, but Garrett Homes has been building Dollar General stores throughout the state.
Moran was prepared to show photographs that night of his property and how the new development would impact the view from his dining room window. But after some discussion, the commission postponed a decision on the Garrett Homes proposal.
Moran didn’t receive notice for the next meeting, he said. The final plan was approved on March 13, the same night the commission rejected plans for a mosque on Research Parkway.
”I wished I had notification,” Moran said. “They told (representatives for) a mosque there were plenty of other sites in the city, why didn’t they say the same thing for a Dollar General?”
City Planner Renata Bertotti didn’t recall any member of the public speaking about the proposal at the February meeting, but Bertotti recommended the developer improve the screening to block the sight of the air conditioner, and requested changes to the visual and soundproof buffer.
The developer agreed to make the changes before the plan was approved.
“I didn’t receive any notification,” said Martiqa Serrano Caban, who lives at 128 Gale Ave. “The foot traffic is my biggest concern. We get people who literally walk through our yard while we’re having a picnic and climb the fence. A Dollar General will make it worse.”
Serrano Caban said people from as far as Crown Street travel Roy Street through Ceppa Field, using her backyard to get to Broad Street. She has photographs of footprints in the snow near her rear fence.
“I don’t want it right there,” she said.
Serrano Caban will also lose her privacy, she said, when several large pine trees and a three-car garage are razed on the two sites.
The house at 60 Broad St. was built in 1850 and is owned by Vito and Barbara Abela of East Hartford, according to city records. The home at 66 Broad St. dates back to 1891 and is owned by Brian Chiz of that address.
Bertotti said some of the neighbors may not have received notifications because they didn’t reside on the property border. But she did reach out to a Gale Street neighbor directly behind the site for feedback. She said the issue of people cutting through yards didn’t come up.
The proposed building will be four to six feet below grade from Gale Avenue with a retaining wall.
“If anyone tries to cut through their yard from Gale Avenue, they’ll be airborne,” Bertotti said.