Big Y Plans Convenience Mart and Gas Station on Halls Road, Sparks Committee Discussion

OLD LYME — At its Thursday night meeting, the Halls Road Improvements Committee discussed potential plans for a Big Y Express gas station and convenience store on Halls road, sparking a discussion regarding zoning and an effort to walk back committee comments.

Edie Twining, committee chair, who shared the information with the committee, said the Big Y company was interested in purchasing 99 Halls Road and 25 Neck Road (Route 156), both owned by Essex Savings Bank, which is adjacent to the properties. 

The two connecting parcels would provide an “easy-in easy-out” traffic flow from Halls Road to Route 156 and potentially attract traffic from I-95. 

Twining said she had spoken with Paul Orzel, chair of Old Lyme Zoning, about whether the Halls Road committee could make recommendations to the commission on the project now or whether the Halls Road masterplan, which is underway, would need to be completed first. 

She said she had heard from Dan Bourret, land use coordinator for Old Lyme, that the developer was getting ready to present plans to the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. 

“They tried to do that a month ago and they didn’t have enough material so now they have a full plan that shows exactly what they’re trying to do, and it’s a little daunting, a little worrisome,” she said. “Obviously they’d have to go through a lot of channels to get it to happen, but at the same time we want to make sure we’re not building things willy-nilly without a plan ahead of time, so this is exactly what we’re trying to be careful about.”

Michael Reiter, secretary for the Halls Road Committee, questioned whether to include Twining’s comments concerning the project in the minutes.

“Do we want that in the minutes? I feel like I should, I’m going to leave that comment out of the minutes,” said Reiter. 

Twining replied, “Okay.”

David Kelsey, a member of the committee, said that minutes don’t have to be “that detailed.” 

Reiter said he understood that the minutes did not need to be word-for-word, but that he did not want the information shared with the public. 

“But as I started typing, I was like, well, I don’t know if I want that. I typically write what we talk about, but I don’t think I want that going out,” Reiter said.

“To the public,” Twining said.

“Exactly,” Reiter said.

“Okay,” Twining answered. 

The first Big Y Express gas stations opened in Lee, Massachusetts, in 2013 as a partnership between Big Y and F.L. Roberts & Co., a petroleum company that sold its retail operations to Nouria Energy Corp. of Worcester in 2016. Connecticut  Big Y Express locations include Ellington, Manchester, and Stafford Springs and there are nine Massachusetts locations.

Susan Malan, a real estate broker with William Pitt, said she could not reveal the name of the buyer but that the two properties had been under contract “for many months.” 

The 1.33-acre lot at 99 Halls Road is zoned for commercial use and is described as an “excellent location with tremendous visibility” and a 2018 DOT traffic count of 9,000 cars per day, according to the real estate listing. As of Friday, the lot has been on the market for about 535 to 545 days, currently for $425,000 and the buyer has accepted an offer but the buyer is not yet under contract. 

The .85-acre parcel at 25 Neck Road is listed for $150,000, on the market for 536 to 546 days. The seller has accepted an offer but is not under contract, according to the listing.

Charles D’Amour, president and chief operating officer of Big Y, did not return the call from CT Examiner.

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