MERIDEN — The City Council’s Economic Development Housing and Zoning Committee will hold a public hearing later this month over a proposed zone change that could allow a potential car wash on Broad Street
The Planning Commission voted 4 to 1 last week to recommend the zone change for 1015, 1025 and 1043 Broad St. from residential to commercial. Commission member Laura Uhrig voted against the change.
Residents will have a chance to voice concerns with committee members when the public hearing is rescheduled. Tuesday’s meeting was cancelled, according to the city’s website.
Vincent Porzio, doing business as Wash Development LLC, resubmitted his request because an earlier one included the wrong lot addresses. It also drew opposition from neighbors on Twiss Avenue who were concerned with traffic, parking and environmental impact.
Part of the mapping in Porzio’s initial request included a wetlands area on a portion of 1025 Broad St. The resubmitted request not only corrected the address errors, but eliminated the wetlands area to address the neighbors’ concerns.
“Right now we gave our endorsement to move forward with the zone change,” said Planning Commission Chairman Enrico Buccilli. “An official application hasn’t come through. We’ll be very concerned about wetlands. We want to make sure it doesn’t have a negative impact.”
One of the bigger concerns raised by residents at an earlier public hearing has been whether the car wash will exacerbate what they say is a lack of parking in that area.
Patrons of Ted's Restaurant and Dawg House Bar and Grill often park along Broad Street. Residents of Twiss Avenue and Orchard Street, just south of Twiss, complain that cars parked along Broad Street block their vision of traffic when they are pulling out onto Broad Street.
"Traffic on Broad Street is so unbelievably bad," Twiss Avenue resident Laura Ritter told the Record-Journal in March. "My son got hit coming out of the street once."
The zone change adds to recent commercial activity on Broad Street. Construction has begun on a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through at 944-950 Broad St. After demolishing a home on the site, foundation work has begun along with surveying at the drive-through site.
The store will be about 900 square feet and will have 12 parking spaces, although it will only offer drive-through service, according to the site plan. Graceful Bee Realty LLC, an entity of Batista Companies, owner of multiple Dunkin’ Donuts franchises, is building the new business.
The Dunkin’ Donuts will have two points of entry and exit, a curb cut along Broad Street and access from a new driveway that will be built off Pratt Street Extension to the rear of the store. To prevent traffic backups, the commission asked the applicant to install signs directing traffic turning left out of Dunkin’ Donuts onto Broad Street to exit onto Pratt Street Extension and turn left at the intersection of Pratt Street Extension and Broad.