The Planning and Zoning Commission Monday halted a proposal to add a drive-thru window to the already existing db Mart and Gulf Station on Quinnipiac Avenue.
The applicant did not attend the May 6 meeting, leaving commission members to deliberate based off the applicant’s presentation last month, after which the applicant had asked for a continuance.
The commission did not need long to vote unanimously against the application, citing the police chief’s traffic concerns – and its own.
Police Chief Thomas McLoughlin provided further comments on the plan since the April commission meeting, adding to the record the efforts of some patrol officers to study the busy Quinnipiac Avenue and Montowese Avenue intersection.
Within the last three years and four months, 60 motor vehicle accidents were reported in this area, according to McLoughlin in a letter to the commission dated May 2.
Owners of the K Brothers, LLC. site at 224 Quinnipiac Ave. were proposing the expansion of the onsite db Mart convenience store from 2,000 square-feet to about 2,730 square-feet, including a drive-thru window, and adding a third gas pump island. The application was prepared by Godfrey-Hoffman & Hodge Associates.
The commission granted the applicant a continuance after its site plan proposal elicited some confusion and opposition from the commission, including concerns about traffic.
Land Use Administrator Alan Fredricksen said he set up a meeting with the applicant and traffic engineers, Town Engineer Andrew Bevilacqua and McLoughlin, during which the police chief expressed willingness to deploy officers to the area for further inspection.
No further changes to the site plan or application were made following that meeting.
The store’s expansion would have meant two additions to the existing building, to the western and southern sides, and as well as installing a third pump island, all the pumps would be moved to a more central location on the site. Also, 17 parking spaces would have turned into 14, and the flow of traffic would have needed to be altered on the 0.87 acre property.
Commission members expressed some confusion at the proposed drive-thru window during the April meeting, which was explained to be not only for coffee or to-go food items, but also general convenience store items like milk, candy bars and cigarettes.
At that meeting, several commission members and town staff were not satisfied with the traffic analysis completed on the site, which projected a insignificant increase in traffic volume.
“You're adding drive-thru lanes to add greater convenience for your customers and I don't understand how providing additional convenience for your customers doesn't increase traffic to your store and doesn't increase traffic volume,” Bevilacqua said at the time.
Bevilacqua said the intersection is already a problem and any proposal that would increase traffic can only make it worse.
Protestors who had come out for the April meeting showed up again Monday in opposition to the plans. They clapped when the commission voted down the application.