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P&Z approves return of gas station business to downtown site

A downtown property that was once home to a gas station will soon be back in business as a new service station.

The former Getty station J&J Car Care Center at 271 Post Road East will be the site of the new automotive business run by a father and son from Wilton. They intend to open a full-service station that will include a convenience store, as well as provide towing.

The application was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission last week.

"We're looking for the Westport wow factor once we open," said Frank Seccurra of Quality Towing & Auto Repair, LLC. "We want to paint the pumps, we want to put the flowers out and make it the old-fashioned, full-service station."

Despite their unanimous approval for the proposal, several P&Z commissioners expressed some about the Seccurras' plan to run a 24-hour towing service from the site, which sits between Saugatuck Congregational Church and Playhouse Square.

"It's a tricky site, the way it's set up, to accommodate an active towing use," Commissioner Jack Whittle said. "Are you suggesting you're going to be able to jockey your tow truck ... unload and be able to store the wrecks in the back?"

"It's possible you might have an unattractive situation develop there at times that we wouldn't want to be responsible for," he said.

Seccurra assured the commission there is ample room on the property for that service. He also said that many cars retrieved by a towing service now have to be taken to a dealer for needed repairs.

"The cars are too complex today ... Most of those cars have to go to a dealer if you get in a complex situation," he said.

"As far as all the spots being occupied by the repair shop, I don't see that happening," he said.

"Nothing would be left out front," Seccurra said. "Nothing."

Seccurra, who will lease the property from Power Test Realty Co. Limited, said that the area formerly used for the service station's office is going to be what he described as a snack shop.

Commissioner Chip Stephens asked fellow commissioners if they wanted to consider limiting the nighttime service because of a nearby condominium complex, which is located at the north side of Playhouse Square.

"I empathize with those people," he said. "There is a residential flavor, albeit a couple of buildings away." Read Full Article 

Other commissioners disagreed.

"There's a business right across the Post Road that does the same thing," Commissioner Catherine Walsh said.

The 1,600-square-foot building was constructed in 1939. Seccurra said he intends to offer a variety of basic services, including oil changes, with attendant service as well.

"It's a nice location," Seccurra said. "We like Westport."

Jarret Liotta