April 7, 2020

Essex Zoning Hearing Adds Convenience Store Proposal for Former Sunoco Station

*Meeting rescheduled for Wednesday 30 Jan*

ESSEX— A busy zoning commission public hearing agenda Monday now includes new proposals to reopen a gasoline station/convenience store at the former Sunoco station at 1 Saybrook Road, and a separate request to add new uses to the limited industrial zone on Plains Road.

The agenda for the meeting that begins at 7 p.m. at town hall was already full as the commission prepares to receive input on it’s own proposal to ease current restrictions on new restaurants, while also banning new fast food restaurants and new drive-through windows for either restaurants or banks.

The commission is proposing the amend the regulations to remove two restrictions on new restaurants that have been in place since the 1980s. The proposal would delete regulations that prohibit new restaurants on corner lots, or within 750-feet of an existing restaurant. At the same time, the panel is proposing a regulation that would prohibit new fast food restaurants and drive-through windows in Essex.

Joseph Budrow, zoning enforcement officer, said the special permit application for a convenience store at the 1 Saybrook Road parcel was submitted last month. The former Sunoco station, near Route 9 exit 3, has been vacant for more than four years. Bestway 2 LLC of Norwich is proposing to reopen the gasoline station in conjunction with a full convenience store.

The proposal to amend the uses allowed in the limited industrial zone on Plains Road comes from New England Commercial Properties LLC. The property management group owns an existing complex of three buildings at 46 Plains Road, where one of the partners also operates the Vintage Construction Company. While most of the space in the buildings is occupied, the partnership has requested changes to the defined list of uses to include commercial kitchens where food products are packages, but not cooked, and new provisions for small start-up contracting businesses.

Budrow said the are no specific proposals from New England Commercial Properties LLC for the requested new uses. Budrow said some, or possibly all, of the public hearings are expected to be continued to the commission’s February meeting.