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Plans For Gas Station Opposed By Parkville Residents


January 14, 2013

HARTFORD —— A controversial proposal to sell city-owned land at the corner of New Park Avenue and Francis Court for use as a Stop & Shop gas station is again being considered by the city council.

The plan was considered last year, but didn't have the council's support. It also faced opposition from residents of the Parkville neighborhood, who said there were already too many gas stations in the area. The council tabled the resolution for two consecutive meetings — most recently on March 12 — and the proposal died as a result.

But on Monday, Mayor Pedro Segarra introduced a similar plan that would sell a vacant, half-acre parcel near a Stop & Shop supermarket for $80,000 to Hayes Properties, which plans to build a gas station on the site.

"The primary objective is to eliminate blight and spur development that will promote overall economic development in this area," Segarra wrote in a letter to the city council. "Hayes Properties responded with the most viable proposal for this city-owned land. …The development will result in a capital investment of over $2 million and will return this long-vacant and underutilized site to productive use."

The council referred the proposal to its planning and economic development committee. It is also seeking an opinion on the sale from the city's planning and zoning commission. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 22 at city hall, 550 Main St.

Many residents and property owners opposed the plan Monday, citing the potential for the gas station to pollute the surrounding area. Raymond Casavant, who owns property on Francis Avenue, said the neighborhood already has too many gas stations. Residents said there are six in the area.

"We want to see a tax-paying entity go onto that property," Casavant, 72, said. "The gas station is just not the right fit."

Stephen Nemeth, 85, of Newton Street added: "We have a wonderful neighborhood. We do not need another gas station. Please don't put a gas station there."

The Parkville Neighborhood Revitalization Zone group voted last week against selling the land to Hayes Properties, members said.

Margaret Clapis-Marriman, 89, the group's treasurer, said she's concerned about the gas station's environmental impact. She said she also worries about traffic in the area, which already is plagued by delays and backups.

"We have a high asthma rate in Hartford and in Connecticut," said Clapis-Marriman, who lives on Grace Street. "We already have [several] gas stations in our neighborhood. Many people in Hartford don't drive, so who are we accommodating? People from outside our area come in, pollute our air and then leave."

Instead of a gas station, Clapis-Marriman said she would like to see a walk-in medical clinic or a doctor's office built on the property.

One person spoke in favor of the proposal Monday. Clarke King of Asylum Street said Stop & Shop has created jobs with benefits for city residents, and the gas station could bring more.

"We want to make sure that our residents have good employment," he said.

Councilman Larry Deutsch on Monday introduced an alternative to Segarra's proposal.

Deutsch's plan calls for an electric car charging station to be built at the corner. The charging station would be more "environmentally conscious" than the gas station, Deutsch said. Under the proposal, which also was referred to the council's planning and economic development committee, construction would be supported by state and federal grants.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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