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New Gas Station Proposal Seen as 'Dangerous'

The proposal for a new gas station on Danbury Road in Ridgefield is met with unilateral criticism.

The plan to put in a Stop & Shop gas station at 65 Danbury Road was ill-received by both members and townspeople at Tuesday night’s public forum held at the Town Hall Annex.

Representatives from faced a number of biting questions and remarks about traffic and public safety with no voices of support for the proposed gas station, which would be set across from South St. and the adjacent shopping plaza containing and , an area which already sees high amounts of daily traffic.

During the meeting, John Plante, the Senior Associate/Vice President of Lagan Engineering, the company which would build the gas station, stressed that traffic levels would not be as bad as the Commission theorized it to be. Plante said that the proposed station’s traffic generation is on par with other businesses in the area.

Additionally, members were concerned that a 53-foot tanker truck would fill the gas station daily, creating additional problems of noise for neighboring residential areas and further congesting traffic. Members also cited a letter from the Ridgefield Police Commission which strongly dissuaded approval of the project.

The Ridgefield Police Commission stated that the necessary building would make “a dangerous and unacceptable curb cut in an already accident-prone portion of a major street in town” and that “traffic exiting at the Parma Deli/Dunkin Donuts strips…makes the proposal unacceptable as to accident risk.” (The full letter is attached to this article in PDF form).

“Have you ever known of any projects approved...after a scathing letter such as this?” asked P&Z member John Katz, directing the question at Cuggino.

Cuggino replied that she had not encountered letters from police commissions in general, and stressed that it was only the police department’s opinion.

The Stop & Shop reps cited data they took from Ridgefield during a four-day period of the South St. intersection and used a Waterbury Stop & Shop station for comparison. They held ground saying that the traffic would not be excessive and that the road would remain safe.

P&Z member George Hanlon disagreed and said that businesses across the street had “as many as five different entrances and exits” while the new gas station would have only one, accessible only from Danbury Road.  

“When you get to this level of queuing, accidents occur,” said P&Z member Peter Chipouras, referencing the fact that there were already a number of accidents in that area, mostly in the vicinity of .

More comments rolled in when the public forum opened after over an hour of back-and-forth deliberations.

“The location stinks,” said John Pierandri of Hillsdale Avenue, directly facing the Stop & Shop representatives.

Dominic D’Addario of Tanton Hill Road said the plan “should be rejected unanimously” and called it the worst proposal he had seen throughout all his years of coming to town meetings.

“God forbid, if you approve this project—someone will be killed,” said David Wood of Mountain View Road who feared the increase in traffic and left-hand turns from the gas station would lead to a traffic fatality. “At the end of the day, are you going to believe a paid lobbyist, or our own police commission?”

The P&Z commission will vote on the project’s pending approval at a later date, but if Tuesday night’s meeting was any indication of a gas station being located at 65 Danbury Road, all signs point to ‘No.’

Josh September 06, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I don't like that Main Street is busy. I don't like that I sometimes have to wait a minute before pulling out of Starbucks. I don't like that the school buses are so often late. But I allow for this in my life because I'm realistic. I understand life isn't all about me, where I get exactly what I want. This gas station is GOOD for Ridgefield as a whole. It would bring in more tax dollars. It would help us save money every time we fill up. It would send a message to Stop N Shop that we value them as a neighbor - they are probably the best business neighbor we have, always helping out community groups with donations and sidewalk time in front of their store. I have difficulty understanding this decision by P&Z. From my point of view and in my opinion, I think there is a lot of inconsistency in the way P&Z makes decisions. Other stores get approved on that road, but not this one. Trees get knocked down on town property and the town reacts strongly, but other times tree get knocked down on town property and P&Z doesn't seem to care. By P&Z rules, as I understand it, the new movie theater should have added more parking, but no, they got a pass. Isn't the movie theater potentially going to create a traffic problem on Main Street? Why is that allowed, but any supposed gas station "traffic issues" can't be tolerated?
Tom Falconieri September 07, 2012 at 12:58 AM
We need another GAS station like we need more affordable housing. I dont want any more strip building in this town. It is not a lovely new englind town any more . As a native i have seen this town go down the drain since the present administration has been in power. So if the gas is lets say $.10 cheaper at S&S is it really a big deal. For a 20 Gallon tank that would be 2 dollars or $.20 it would be 4 dollars big deal. I would rather see a park their that everyone can enjoy. STOP BUILDING RIDGEFIELD IN TO LONG ISLAND.
Myth Romney September 07, 2012 at 01:11 AM
waaaaa waaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Tommy. I thought that a tea bagger like yourself would be in favor of free enterprise CAPITALISM. You sound like a socialist!
Tom Falconieri September 07, 2012 at 09:37 AM
Nope i am a property owner and i guess you are NOT!!! That means i am loosing app 25% on my investment and counting. You LIBS DONT GET IT!!! Look around and tell me this town is QUAINT. Liberals are BRAINLESS BUT THEY STILL HAVE EYES. Tell me it AINT SO!!!
Tom Falconieri September 07, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Myth Romney ??? What is with that??? Dont you like your real NAME. Typical LIB all mouth and no substance !!
Myth Romney September 07, 2012 at 01:29 PM
so, you for Free Enterprise or NOT? You want a quaint town, go to P-town!
Mechelle September 07, 2012 at 04:41 PM
It seems crazy when gas stations in the area have been turned into out types of businesses...bank, clothing store (former chambers) & funeral home....can't Stop & Shop find a better location?
Larry September 07, 2012 at 05:25 PM
At times, Ridgefield seems to have this misconception about how life works. It's not all about you Ridgefield, it's not that kind of party. The businesses do have some say in how they make money. They have hired professionals who look into things and run the numbers and come to conclusions about the best place for them to operate a successful venture, like a gas station. Ridgefield, you don't get to tell them what to do in every detail. Oh you can try, but they will walk away and take their money elsewhere. Look at IBM. As I heard the tale, IBM wanted to set up a corporate headquarters here. Every municipality's dream. A large company. Non-polluting. It comes with a base of intellectual high paid employees. Perfect. But RIdgefield caused trouble. They made it difficult for IBM. And what happened? IBM isn't in Ridgefield is it? What a lost opportunity!!! Ridgefield, I think we need to do this a little better. We're blowing it. We want business here. No not in residential areas. But we want business in our business districts, as is the case with this gas station. We want the tax revenue. We want residents from Redding and WIlton and North Salem to choose to shop here because they can also buy cheaper gas here. While here, they will patronize our restaurants and stores. But if we keep running interference, the businesses are going to continue to walk away. No new customers. No new tax revenues. We are going to financially strangle ourselves.
Eileen September 07, 2012 at 06:25 PM
I agree with your entire post. Well said.
Eileen September 07, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Tom, I agree about this turning into LI. I grew up there. But it's almost too late. The additional strip malls are there and those will pave the way for even more. And no matter how "pretty" they try to make them, they're still strip malls. That being said, if they ever come to full occupancy, they will seriously impact the traffic in that area already. So, in the traffic argument the town looses.
Tom Falconieri September 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
LARRY are you kidding me. Clearly you are miss informed about IBM!!! They wanted a heliport up in Ridgebury. Clearly the towns people did not want that and they told IBM to drop that part . No one was against IBM building their So lets get the story correct. By the way sounds like you dont live here!! Do you. As a native with a stake in the ridgebury area of town we fought to keep this out. And as for the business end of the deal who said we as residents cant tell business what to do. That is the problem people like you preaching how industry can bully town around. Just like the Black & white signs that are gone and now the realtors can post their ddisgusting signs all over town. Reason being the first selectmens wife is a realtor. No larry it is not about business telling us what to do it is about the people that live here and have investments here that are the town. Not the corporations that want to exploit us. Years ago people used to call it the slims of ridgefield. Now ridgebury is the prime realist-ate section of this town. Other than TURNER hill that was illegally built and in my view is a slum. We did a good job of protecting Ridgebury. Now if only the rest of the complacent towns people would follow. Until of course how and when Eurica builds bennets pond to the hilt. Then Ridgebury and the rest of this town will be a dump and you can thank the DEMS FOR IT. You see 8-30G is a socialist progressive plan implemented by the progressive left.
Larry September 08, 2012 at 04:12 PM
The Bennetts Farm property is just down the road from the Danbury airport. You stopped IBM from moving in and giving us millions per year in tax revenue because you didn't want a heliport to go in.... just down the road from an airport???? Does that make any sense? The heliport was to be used infrequently to bring in an occasional VIP, once a month if that. Meanwhile, you already had multiple planes landing and taking off every hour. Are you sure this was a smart move for Ridgefield??? We gave IBM a difficult time and they walked away. I don't blame them. If we start the relationship by picking on something so minor, they probably figured we'd picked on them for so many other things too. What town in America would not want IBM to locate within its borders? IBM is probably the best corporate neighbor any town could wish for. Jeez! Did we blow it!
Larry September 08, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Is the complaint that it is a 7th gas station? That seems irrelevant to me in terms of PnZ's authority. If a business sees value in opening up another gas station, if they think they can make a profit, that's their call. Not ours. Show me anything in the statues which says PnZ can deny a permit because PnZ disagrees with the economics of the business model.
Larry September 08, 2012 at 08:16 PM
OK. Boiling. down. We agree, officially, there is nothing wrong with 7 gas stations. So not an issue. Now about the danger, it is being reported elsewhere that cars leaving that particular lot can see 15 car lengths to the left. Do you think 15 car lengths is not enough room when making a turn and therefore creates a danger?
Tom Falconieri September 08, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Tom Falconieri 4:14 pm on Saturday, September 8, 2012 Let me put this in to perspective. P&Z has the right to deny anything including 8-30G. And in my thinking they have every right in the world to do so. How else do you think this town was so desirable for people that invaded it came and went passed everything under the sun and now they are gone leaving people like me with a town that is like NJ. Well in my eyes and if this town was run properly things would be better here. It is people like Larry that most likely think more building means more TAX REVENUE FOR THE TOWN. NOT SO!!! All it does is destroy the quality of life here and believe me their is not much left any more. So be it as it may how much money will you save on gas LARRY if this ridiculous Gas station comes to being. And i am going on the record as saying it probably will. Knowing this town and the people running it i would not be surprised. With that Larry please explain why you are so hell bent on having this ridiculous gas station at this location. I would like to know WHY!!! If in course you want to tell us!!!
lessthanzero September 08, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I for one want to see this gas station go through because I'd like to see residents get a break in their wallets. Cheaper gas would help, as would the idea of another business contributing to the tax rolls. In other Fairfield County towns, residents pay 70% of the tax base and businesses pay 30%, In Ridgefield, residents pay 92% of the tax base. That's an amazing difference to me. Right there, it accounts for us paying a third more in taxes than other towns. We have to be friendlier to these businesses. There seems to be many stories I'm hearing of Ridgefield being less than welcoming to businesses. We need their tax money to survive. And remember, every business we turn away is a business other towns get. Our taxes go up, theirs go down. They win in that their home values rise. I'm not fond of strip malls and corporations buildings. But we need them. The tricks is to welcome them while keeping them contained to certain locations, like Danbury Road, then the rest of the town can continue to look good. I can't believe we are going to turn down a gas station on a commercial road.
Tom Falconieri September 08, 2012 at 10:45 PM
@lessthanzero Then stop voting in these RIDICULOUS SCHOOL BUDGETS!!! And if you dont like strip malls take a good look at this town. Not only do we have strip malls we have a town with empty buildings. But dont worry Low Income housing will fill the VOID and you TAX DOLLARS will support that ENDEAVOR
Tom Falconieri September 08, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Just for the record less than zero. Do you believe for one second this gas station will give you cheaper GAS. I would not bet on it. Everything is more expensive in this town because of the dumb notion that having an 06877 zip code is special. Well it AINT ANY MORE. As the matter of fact enrollments are dropping and their may be a school closing. Wake up and smell the coffee. High taxes and a town out of control with it's building is not something people want when they move. They are bypassing Ridgefield. To crowded and taxes to high. And bringing in more business will just make more empty store fronts. Take a walk on main st some time. So enlighten me on the savings this S&S station will bring to us anointed folks. And such generosity by S&S to build us a cut rate gas station. WHEN PIGS FLY!!!
el rushbo II September 08, 2012 at 11:28 PM
you tea bag idiots are pathetic, you preach against government all day long, but now you are arguing against capitalism and freedom from gov interference, just because a guy wants to take a chance on making some money, LEGALLY, by having a gas station. GET A LIFE !
Tom Falconieri September 09, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Sounds like you are one of the ANOINTED LIBS!!!
Eileen September 09, 2012 at 12:15 PM
@ el rushbo II and Tom Please don't turn this into a partisan issue. That's part of the problem with SO many things today. This had nothing to do with R vs D. And TOM, I totally agree with your statements, " Everything is more expensive in this town because of the dumb notion that having an 06877 zip code is special. Well it AINT ANY MORE." and "High taxes and a town out of control with it's building is not something people want when they move."
TBL of CT September 09, 2012 at 10:27 PM
It is unfortunate Tom some folks just dont get it- and never will! Keep fighting the fight and never give in!
Emmit James September 09, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Get what TBL? You think that the government should be setting rules on the number of gas stations? How about coffee shops, barber shops, book stores, dentists and doctors? Let us know what you propose.
TBL of CT September 09, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Emmitt- if it is in the P&Z bylaws, then so be it. Bottom line, big business hurts the little guy. How many stores have been forced from this town- especially when the mall opened. You want higher taxes too??? Let us trying filling empty businesses first rather than building a multiple pump facility to save a buck.
Josh September 10, 2012 at 01:21 AM
TBL: I'm not sure you grasp how our economy works. "Let us trying filling empty businesses first rather than building a multiple pump facility to save a buck." Us? We don't fill empty store fronts. Businesses do. Their choice whether to take a gamble and open shop here. (But I have to say, if I were a guy wanting to start a business, doubt I would try in this town when I see all the headaches.) Besides, if you want to help business here, provide cheap gas and more shoppers will come. Don't allow cheap gas and more shoppers will head to Danbury. Quite simple really. As for the comments by TomF, I'm not sure I understand. Sometimes you argue our taxes should be lower. Now you argue we shouldn't have businesses here, which makes our taxes higher. For example, not allowing IBM has probably lost us $10 million or more in taxes over this decade. That is money that had to be covered instead by the residents.
Tom Falconieri September 10, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Makes no difference how much money comes in to this town. With this town in the red for 131 million dollars a S&S gas station wont hack it as far as getting us in the BLACK. Bottom line is when we have a CEO running a town in the RED for this much money someone does not have a CLUE. Simple you cant spend more than you take in. And all that is happening in this town is the BIG SHOTS are trying to build their way out of the RED. THAT DOES NOT WORK. By the way once the town is at a point where it does not become a place that people want to live the place turns out as we are at this point. The town is not a place anyone wants to live in any more with it's problems and it's huge debt. Bottom line is this town is SHOT. So build it to the max and just keep on loosing what drew people here in the first place. A Quaint little town that is now just like NJ and who the hell wants to live in Ridgefield or NJ. Must be true on my part as enrollments are down and business does not want to be here. A gas station is always a business that brings down property values if they are near said properties. No one wants to live next door to a gas station. So cheap gas and in reality how cheap is it worth it to save 3 bucks on a tank of gas. I dont think SO!!!
Larry September 10, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Cooper, you say you doubt the 15 car lengths of visibility is real. Let's go to the video tape dude. Look at this image, http://i.imgur.com/clYEs.jpg Measure it yourself. The scale is at the bottom left. It shows 225 feet from the driveway exit to the purple dot down Danbury Road. That's 15 car lengths. Danger? What freaking danger? We routinely make turns with 10 or even 5 car lengths. I think people are saying "danger" because it helps scare P&Z into turning down this gas station. But come on dude, 15 car lengths is not a problem. You know what I think is going on? Some people don't want this gas station for other reasons, so they claim it is dangerous. But clearly the image doesn't lie. I am going to lose faith in P&Z if this gas station falls through. Look at the image P&Z. Look at the image. 15 car lengths of visibility.
Nutmegger September 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I think the only thing preventing some from seeing down that road ---- their vision is clouded by a personal agenda.
Larry September 10, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"Go try it, like I did. " I did. "Reality trumps a picture every time." This is why I don't often comment on these forums. If a bank video shows a suspect brandishing a gun in the teller's face while demanding money, could his defense attorney claim, "It didn't happen that way. Reality trumps a picture every time." Wouldn't you laugh at the defense attorney for trying such as tactic? I think you need to be more fair in these conversations. The picture shows the line of sight is 15 car lengths... because that's what it is. "The Ridgefield Police Commission said it would make a dangerous -" I believe our police department has no official jurisdiction over line of sight issues on Danbury Road. The state of connecticut controls line of sight issues on that road. People will tell me I'm wrong, but I think I'm right on this. There was a case a few years ago where the state of conn stepped in and stopped a building project that the town wanted. The state has the say, not ridgefield police.
Tom Falconieri September 11, 2012 at 09:32 AM
Cooper is correct the 400 main st clan will get it in some way. They just love destroying this town. TIME FOR A CHANGE ANYONE???

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