Application for new car wash on Meriden-Wallingford line moves forward  

WALLINGFORD — An application for a car wash on the site of a still-operational banquet facility on property in both Meriden and Wallingford advanced before one Inland Wetlands Commission and was tabled by the other.

Hutton Street 21 LLC has applied to build a car wash at 577 South Broad St. in Meriden, the current home of Il Monticello restaurant and banquet facility. The property has been for sale for years and currently has a buyer, though the sale has not yet closed, Meriden Economic Development Director Joe Feest said. Until then, the banquet facility continues to operate.

Il Monticello owner Dominick Colella couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. An employee at the facility has previously told the Record-Journal that it will continue to be open and host events. 

Colella signed the application as the owner of the property, but it will be the new owners who will develop the property assuming the sale goes through, Feest said. 

The Meriden Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission on Wednesday approved Hutton's application, but the application before the Wallingford Inland Wetlands Commission the same night was tabled until its Feb. 1 meeting because of several concerns of Environmental Planner Erin O’Hare. 

O'Hare visited the property the afternoon of the meeting. There, she said, she noticed orange water in the wetlands, which prompted her to report it to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. A DEEP official came out Thursday to inspect it, she said, but found it was harmless and does not need remediation.

"They reported to me that it's not a chemical spill and they're not concerned about it at all," she said. "It's a natural phenomenon from iron oxidizing bacteria. If conditions are just right you can have this explosion of this particular kind of bacteria which is like an algae."

But while that isn't a problem, there are other issues she's concerned with, O'Hare said, including requirements missing from the application such as a report on soil samples. Because of that, she asked the commission to table the application for another month so she can meet with the applicant to go over her concerns.

"By then I will have written up all my comments and will have met with the applicant. Hopefully they can iron them out," she said.

While the town line runs through the property, the car wash would be totally on the Meriden side of the lot, according to Chris Gagnon, an engineer with BL Companies, who represents the applicant. 

"The development is situated on the Meriden side of the site but we are here because the existing building, driveway and some landscape accessory areas that served the banquet facility are on the Wallingford side of the development," he said, "and the plan is to demolish all of this and restore it to a vegetative area."

While the Wallingford side of the property would be empty, it would be used for drainage for the car wash, O'Hare said. The soapy water from the car wash goes in the sewer and wouldn't touch the property, she said.

"They can't do it without our approval because it's one application, it's tied," she said. "They can't go ahead and build a car wash if they have no place to put their storm water."

The Wallingford Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission will again take up the application at its next meeting Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Council Chambers.


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