MERIDEN — An area businessman is seeking a special permit to operate a package store in a vacant former deli and grocery store across from Meriden Superior Court.
Rajesh Patel is asking the Planning Commission to consider the special permit when it meets for a virtual public hearing this Wednesday (Aug. 12).
Patel plans to open the package store in 1,500 square feet at 57 W. Main St., also known as 63 W. Main St. The building is owned by Silver City Properties, which is headed by Ross Gulino, a member of the Planning Commission.
Gulino said he will abstain from discussions and voting on the special permit and had no further comment on the application. Patel could not be reached for comment.
The proposed package store would be in the city’s Transit-Oriented Development District, but all package stores require a special permit.
The nearest package stores are more than 1,500 feet away. There is a grocery store with a beer permit at 228 W. Main St., and a full package store on the corner of Pratt and Miller streets.
Statutes require stores that sell alcohol to be consumed off the premises be 1,500 feet apart from each other. The city recently lifted those restrictions for restaurants that serve alcohol for on-site consumption.
When considering a special permit, the commission evaluates the health, safety and welfare of the overall public and the immediate neighborhood and may order conditions and safeguards. The proposal must be in harmony with development, and not devalue the property of the neighborhood, or be detrimental to orderly development of adjacent properties. It can’t create traffic or fire hazards. It must also conform to TOD district requirements, according to information from the Planning Department.
City staff has reviewed the application and found it meets the special permit requirements. Staff is recommending approval of the package store with the condition that signs not obscure windows and be approved by Director of Planning Renata Bertotti, according to information from the Planning Department.
Struggle to fill vacancies
City landlords have struggled to fill vacancies along West Main and Colony streets and city officials say the package store could spur activity downtown. The Feel Fresh barber shop is next door.
“We currently have a package store in our downtown area so I think adding another one would be an asset to drive more people into our downtown,” said city Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “I don’t know of any negative impact to our downtown that would be any different if it was located in any other area in our city. I think the space is big enough to house a good amount of product for sale to make it a profitable business to succeed.”
Members of the public can provide comments on the proposal via email or phone. They can also make live comments during the question and answer component of the virtual meeting.
Comments on this and other commission matters may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments via email will be closed one hour prior to the start of the meeting to allow them to be distributed to members. The meeting can be accessed from the City of Meriden calendar or from this link:
To call in and provide public comments during the meeting please use the following number:
203-666-2306 conference ID 906 582 54#