WALLINGFORD — Toyota of Wallingford has received town approval to add about 9,000 square feet to its Route 5 dealership.
The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the dealership’s expansion plan, which includes adding additional service space and a car wash area, constructing a new front entrance to the showroom and adding a second floor for offices and an employee area.
The approved plan also includes a new car delivery area and reconfiguring vehicle storage, customer parking and vehicle display.
The proposed additions would bring the dealership's square-footage from 21,574 to 30,335, project engineer James DeMaio told the commission in December. The dealership is at the corner of Pent Highway and Route 5.
Dealership owner Steve Zion and Joan Molloy, an attorney representing Toyota of Wallingford, could not be reached for comment Monday.
The application was approved 4-0 by the commission last week with several conditions suggested by different town departments. Because Route 5 is a state road, some aspects of the project still need approval from the state Department of Transportation.
Joe Mirra, Economic Development Commission chairman, spoke in favor of the dealership’s application at the commission’s meeting.
“They’ve always kept a neat, presentable corner there and I don’t see it changing with this improvement,” Mirra told the commission.
The dealership first presented the application to the commission in December, however, the commission noted some discrepancies between the site plan submitted to the commission and a site plan approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals earlier this year. The dealership went back to the ZBA to correct the inconsistencies.
One issue that came up in the commission’s review process was whether the dealership should be required to provide a paved access way between the dealership’s property and the Dunkin’ Donuts located next to the dealership at 694 N. Colony Road.
Molloy said the dealership experiences regular issues with Dunkin Donuts customers driving into the dealership parking lot and then walking over.
“They’re literally not able to move cars because Dunkin’ Donuts customers are parking. Our concern is that if we pave any portion of that, it’s only going to aggravate that situation,” Molloy told the commission in December.
Zion said Dunkin’ Donuts customers parking in his lot is a “daily” issue.
Molloy proposed that instead of requiring the dealership create an interconnection accessway, the town and dealership could create a document in the land record that states if the town determines the interconnection should be installed in the future, the then-property owner of the dealership parcel should pay for it to be installed.
The commission agreed to approve the application on the condition that a document is added to the land record with that language.
While most commission members supported Molloy’s proposal, commission member JIm Fitzsimmons said he was still in favor of adding an interconnection because it helps control traffic on Route 5. Fitzsimmons cited an interconnection created between the CVS Pharmacy and the new AT&T shopping plaza along Route 5 as an example.
“When it works, an interconnection works very well. It gets the cars off Route 5, it reduces the number of curb cuts on Route 5 and controls the better flow of traffic,” Fitzsimmons said.
“I’m still in favor of the interconnection. I’d prefer it to be built, but I concede to the consensus of the commission,” Fitzsimmons added.