Zoner commission barely passes Gulf station glass facade

Floor-to-ceiling glass on the front facade of a gas station convenience store met with some skepticism, but the plans got a 3-to-2 approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday, July 18.

The property at 115 Danbury Road is currently a Gulf station, with a convenience store.

Michelle Myers of Doyle Coffin Architecture told the commission that the applicants were withdrawing a request to add a deli at the site, and would return for approval of other additional uses — including a possible car wash.

“We’ll be here in September for added uses,” she said. “Currently they’re only utilizing 50% of the building they’re leasing.”

But the applicants, 115 Danbury Road Associates LLC, still wanted to get started on their planned changes to the building’s facade, Myers said.

Commissioner Tim Dunphy wondered if it made sense “to change the facade of a building without knowing what the interior of the building is going to be.”

Commissioner John Katz opposed having such big windows on the front of the convenience store.

“It’s very tempting to plaster the inside of these huge plate-glass windows with advertisements,” he said. “And I don’t like it. It’s sloppy and messy.”

“I’m convinced by John,” Dunphy said. “There’s no way you can regulate what’s in the window — that’s a First Amendment issue.”

Though Katz and Dunphy were opposed, commissioners Steve Cole, George Hanlon and Charles Robbins were comfortable with the glass-fronted convenience store, and the new facade was approved.