The Town Plan and Zoning Commission was pumped to approve a new gas station run by Stop & Shop at the corner of Villa Avenue and Tunxis Hill Road.

Commissioners gave unanimous approval Tuesday night to an application from the supermarket giant to open a gas station across the street from its Villa Avenue grocery store. The property is the site of a defunct Mobil gas station that had a convenience store and service bays, and whose owner had successfully opposed a plan by Stop & Shop to open a gas station on its own property several years ago.

"They've eliminated some of the curb cuts, which is a major positive," said TPZ Commissioner Richard Jacobs. Since the hearing on Stop & Shop's application, he said, he's made a point during recent travels to check out the traffic generated at other Stop & Shop stations. "I was very impressed," Jacobs said.

Commissioner Matthew Wagner said the only opposition to the proposal was from a local gas station owner and the lawyer for another station owner.

"Some of the claims they made were quickly rebutted by the applicant," Wagner said, including statements about the price of the gasoline sold, how much gasoline would be sold and safety regulations.

"I think the applicant made a very good presentation," agreed Commissioner Douglas Soutar, "and answered all our questions." He said the new gas station should be a modern, attractive and safe place.

Soutar said he didn't see the gas station -- which will offer discounts on per gallon prices based on Stop $ Shop shoppers' purchases at the grocery store -- as a magnet for lots of out-of-town customers simply to go to the station.

"I think it meets our regulations," said Commissioner Seth Baratz. "It's a good plan."

Stop & Shop applied in 2005 to build a gas station on a site within its parking lot. After the application was denied, a bank branch was built instead.

"I was particularly impressed with the landscaping plan," Commissioner Patricia Jacobson said. "I also liked the safety features."

The proposal calls for a five-bay station with 10 pumps and a 116-square-foot cashier kiosk that would also house the restrooms. There will be a canopy over the pumps. Access will be made through driveways on both Tunxis Hill and Villa Avenue, although an existing driveway closest to the intersection will be eliminated.

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