NORWALK, Conn. – A minor part of the application to build a BJ’s Wholesale Club in Norwalk was turned down Thursday evening by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Attorney Frank Zullo had said at a Plan Review Committee meeting that he would approach the board of appeals and attempt to get BJ’s a variance for signage. Common Councilwoman Anna Duleep (D-At Large) said Thursday evening that the board had turned down the application. Board member Sharon Stewart confirmed that account.
BJ’s would like to build at 272-280 Main Ave., which has long been vacant as a Superfund cleanup site. Zullo said recently that BJ’s wanted the letters on its signs to be bigger than normally allowed because the signs would have to be closer to the road than usual, given the proximity of the store to the roadway. BJ’s also wanted more signs than zoning regulations allow.
“Frank Zullo lost,” Duleep said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.”
The meeting may have been a harbinger of things to come. Rolling Ridge Condominium Association President Curtis Pippin said 10 to 15 residents came out, which he said was remarkable, given that it’s August.
“We told them it would be good if they came and the next one’s where we really want them to show up,” he said, referring to the Zoning Commission public hearing tentatively scheduled for Sept. 19.
The association has retained the services of Attorney Richard Saxl in its effort to fight the BJ’s application. Saxl said he has much experience with zoning issues, as he spent 12 years on Fairfield’s Planning and Zoning Commission and 12 years as Fairfield’s town attorney.
Other association leaders were at the board of appeals hearing, Duleep said, including the president of the Norwalk Association of Silvermine Homeowners.
Duleep said she has heard from constituents in Silvermine, Cranbury, the Winnipauk Village Condominiums and Rolling Ridge who are opposed to the BJ’s application.
She was one of the speakers at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.
“To me, if the lot is not fitting the needs of this particular company, it’s not a hardship, it is a misfit, and they should look for another site for BJ’s,” she said afterward. “I was pleased that the Zoning Board of Appeals seemed to agree, at least with that one part of the application.”