OLD LYME — A third attempt to obtain a special exception to add a convenience store to a gas station at 85 Halls Road was unanimously denied by the Zoning Commission Monday night.
CPD Properties, also known as CPD Energy Corp, of New Paltz, New York, proposed converting the garage bays of the existing building to retail space, which would have added an additional use to the nonconforming .6-acre parcel.
Jane Marsh, secretary of the commission, made a motion to deny the application, citing four main issues, including a lack of new information relative to the previous two submissions for the project that had both been denied.
Commission member Miller echoed Marsh, and said there was no substantial difference between this application and the two prior ones.
“I would appreciate more information on the prior denials,” he said.
A second issue was the traffic study performed by Kevin Solli of Solli Engineering, which both Miller and commission member Alan Todd said was “unpersuasive.”
“The algorithms that Solli used did not fit the Halls Road situation,” said Todd. “[Solli] said there will be no noticeable change in the traffic — but if it’s a viable project, it has to have increased traffic.”
A third issue was the existing retail use on the property that appeared to be unpermitted.
“The nonconforming retail use is in conflict with the statement of use,” Miller said.
Marsh said that years ago the gas station sold auto-related items — motor oil, windshield wipers, antifreeze — and over time a soda machine was added, and then cigarette sales.
“It hasn’t ever come for separate approval of a second use,” she said.
Todd added that he was against allowing a change of use on a nonconforming lot. “It will make it worse,” he said.
The fourth issue was the internal safety of the site, which Marsh said would be jeopardized by the project because it would add internal sidewalks and parking spaces.
“It’s still a very limited flow in the site itself. The traffic still has the potential for having pedestrians and moving traffic interacting with one another in a way that I think could be unsafe,” she said.
Marsh commented that she still saw the gas station use — with services like tire changing, oil vehicle inspections and oil changes — as valuable.
Before the motion to deny, Tammy Tinnerello, commission member, made a motion to approve the application, but the motion did not receive a second.