Hartford Council Rejects New Park Ave. Gas Station Proposal
By JENNA CARLESSO
February 14, 2013
HARTFORD —— A controversial proposal to sell city-owned land at the corner of New Park Avenue and Francis Court for the purpose of building a Stop & Shop gas station has again been rejected by the city council.
The council voted 2-5 against the proposal Wednesday, with two abstentions. The plan was also considered last year, but was tabled for two consecutive meetings — and died as a result.
Both times the proposal was raised, dozens of residents from the Parkville neighborhood — where the gas station was planned — vehemently opposed it. At a public hearing in January, many said they already had too many gas stations in the area, and that they worried about the environmental impact of another one.
The most recent proposal, introduced by Mayor Pedro Segarra, called for the vacant, half-acre parcel near the Stop & Shop supermarket to be sold to Hayes Properties for $80,000. Hayes has said it intended to build a fueling station on the site.
Councilman Larry Deutsch, who voted against the plan, said residents' concerns were weighed heavily in the council's vote.
"Neighbors have said they want to retain that corner for residential or small business development, not another gas station," Deutsch said. "There are also known environmental risks to living close to a gas station with the exposure to vapors."
Councilman Kenneth Kennedy was one of two members who voted in favor of the proposal. He said he was concerned that Stop & Shop employees would eventually lose their jobs because of a planned expansion at the nearby Walmart store on Flatbush Avenue. The Stop & Shop on New Park Avenue employs about 135 city residents, he said.
"Stop & Shop is going to need every break it can get to stay open," Kennedy said. "The jobs there are union jobs. They provide health care and retirement benefits. I am very concerned about the residents who work there."
Deutsch said that instead of building a new gas station, he hopes Stop & Shop continues to partner with gas stations already in the neighborhood to provide discounts on fuel.
"Another gas station in that neighborhood is not necessary, physically," he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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