October 1, 2022

Chester Planning and Zoning Approves Route 154 Market

CHESTER—  The planning and zoning commission has approved plans for a retail market in a vacant structure at 56 Middlesex Avenue, also known as Route 154.

The unanimous vote of approval, taken at a Sept. 8 meeting, ends a nearly 18-month effort by local resident Peter Kehayias to win approval for a market in the building at 56 Middlesex Avenue that has been vacant for several years. The approval is also expected to resolve a lawsuit filed by Kehayias late last year appealing the panel’s November 2010 denial of a previous special permit application for the market.

The initial permit application had called for a 10-seat cafe-style seating area is part of the market. A revised application presented at public hearings in July and August did not include the seating area for on-site consumption of food. Kehayias was appointed as a member of the commission earlier this year, and had recused himself from participating in the review of his latest permit application.

The permit approval has several conditions, including requirements for a landscaped green buffer of plantings on the east side of the property, and fencing around portions of the parcel. The commission directed that no deliveries occur before 8 a.m. or after 3 p.m., with no deliveries on Sundays. The hours for the market, which will sell prepared foods, locally grown produce, meats, poultry and some seafoods, are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Another condition limits the maximum number of employees at the market to six at any one time. The approval specifies that office space on the second floor of the building be an accessory to the market use, with no separate rentals. Another condition specifies there would be no seating on consumption of food at the market.

In other business, the commission has continued to its Oct. 6 meeting the public hearing on a special permit application by DSDM LLC, an affiliate of Uncas Gas Company, for two 30,000-gallon propane storage tanks on a parcel at 25 Airport Industrial Park Road. The panel has approved a separate special permit application from DSDM LLC for a 50-foot-by 80-foot single story building on the abutting parcel at the industrial park that is located off Route 145 on the western side of town.

The proposal for propane storage has drawn opposition from some residents and other business owners at the industrial park, including William Sangster, owner of Unity Mill Engineering, a business that is located near the proposed storage site. Representatives of DSDM LLC have said they would not pursue construction of the building without approval of the related propane storage.