Venus Oil property: Wetlands, site work wins approval

Final approvals for work in a floodplain of the Norwalk River and in the related wetlands upland review area were granted for the former Venus Oil property on Route 7 at a zoning commission meeting on May 14.
The Planning and Zoning Commission granted the floodplain permit “to restore an area of property disturbed without permits” and acting as the Inland Wetlands Board granted a permit for “activities to remedy an outstanding violation in wetlands and the upland review area” at the Venus property at 865 Ethan Allen Highway — and also some work on the neighboring 901 Ethan Allen Highway site.
The property is beside the Ace Tire service station. It is owned by the estate of the late Michael Venus, a former town selectman who had the oil delivery company on the site, which is now rented out as a contractors’ yard to a variety of tenants.
At a public hearing on April 23, attorney Peter Olsen said the intent of the application was largely to get the property cleaned up and in good standing with town land use regulators — under the pressure of an outstanding lawsuit. Any potential development plans would be a future application, he said.
The site contains a multi-bay garage, a large unused oil tank and apparatus for filing oil trucks, some sheds, as well as trailers, various containers and parked vehicles. Tenants include landscapers, a heating and plumbing contractor, and an auto upholstery business. The 1.6-acre site is in both a B-2 non-retail business zone and partly in a RAA two-acre residential zone.
The approvals legalize and enforce some order on the continued operation of the contractors’ yard on the property.
The cleanup plans include removal of asphalt millings and other fill, as well as removal of various storage containers.
Members of the commission and wetlands board had asked for resolutions of approval to be drawn up at their April 23 meeting, and then voted the final approvals after reviewing the documents on May 14.
Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti said the plan “addresses our concerns about the river.”
Kelley Molony, executrix of the Michael Venus estate, was at the meeting — as she’d been at the April 23 hearing session.
“Thank you all,” she said after the votes. “I really appreciate everybody’s help.”