Fairfield considering pizza place with a gas station theme

An exterior view of Pizzaco, a pizza restaurant in Stratford, which opened in 2017. An application is under review to transform an old service station on the Post Road in Fairfield into a similar restaurant.

An exterior view of Pizzaco, a pizza restaurant in Stratford, which opened in 2017. An application is under review to transform an old service station on the Post Road in Fairfield into a similar restaurant.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

FAIRFIELD — An application to transform an old service station into a pizza restaurant with a gas station theme is under review by the town planning and zoning commission.

Attorney John Bochanis, who represents the developer Pizzaco, said this application is about enhancing a very important location in Fairfield.

“The location has been in disrepair now for several years,” Bochanis said.

He said the spot at 801 Post Road is “the gateway to the center of the business district.”

The proposal would convert the existing one-story 1,190-square-foot structure, which was built in 1960, into a restaurant. It would add an additional 400-square-foot kitchen on the east side and a seasonal 273-square-foot porch on the west side, according to the project application.

The restaurant would also accommodate 10 parking spots, the source of a lot of opposition.

Two of those spots would require customers to back their cars in to prevent safety concerns.

Commissioner Thomas Noonan questioned how the restaurant plans to enforce this. He said customers may just see a spot and pull in, since backing into a spot would go against their normal reaction.

Bochanis assured the commissioners that there will be signs up in the parking lot that will tell customers that they have to back their cars in. Workers watching from the register will also be able to further enforce the parking requirement.

Bochanis also said the restaurant’s owners have made parking agreements with other businesses at 25 South Benson Rd. and 79 South Benson Road, something that Attorney Joel Green did not agree with.

Green represents Post Benson Cooperation, the owner and operator of the Fairfield shopping center across the street from the proposed development. Green said that the parking agreement is not legal and that the commission should not consider it when dealing with this application.

“The fact of the matter is shared parking arrangements are not allowed in the commercial district,” Green said.

Green said it is not clear to him if the other businesses have the capacity to allow the proposed restaurant to use their parking.

“This business is going to be a problem,” he said.

Bochanis, in his rebuttal, reassured the commission that parking would not be a major issue. He said that the owners of the restaurant have operated another service station-themed pizza place in Stratford for approximately four years. The business operates mostly as a takeout restaurant though there is seating inside. Only about five employees work at a time.

He does not believe the parking will be an issue and the signage should be enough to handle the parking concerns.

The commission officially closed the public hearing on Tuesday and will now review the application.