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Rob Ryser | Jan. 11, 2022Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 10:30 p.m.
DANBURY — Plans by a tri-state dealership to build a Mercedes-Benz sales and service facility near Danbury Municipal Airport would not only convert a construction storage yard into retail but contribute to the area’s emerging image as a high-end auto niche.
The construction yard, sandwiched between the Danbury airport and Route 7, would be transformed by Curry Automotive into a service center and showroom with parking for 85 vehicles on the second-story roof.
Situated at the northwest corner of Miry Brook and Sugar Hollow roads, it is the latest in a series of high-end, auto-related developments on the city’s booming west side.
The industrial stretch of Miry Brook and Sugar Hollow roads that hugs the eastern border of the airport is already home to Porsche and Audi dealerships, and high-end auto garages and storage facilities such as Speedsport Tuning and Collector Car Services.
A company called Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus recently began making $400,000 sports cars in the shadows of Runway 26, and there is interest in converting the former Sports Authority building into an auto dealership, according to City Hall.
Curry’s Mercedes-Benz dealership would be at the gateway of the high-end corridor — a 2.5-acre site that could be seen from Route 7 and approaching traffic from Wooster Heights Road.
But before shovels can go into the ground, Curry will need permission to build near the environmentally sensitive Kissen Brook to the northwest. A hearing before Danbury’s Environmental Impact Commission is planned for Wednesday.
Consultants for Curry, which operates 11 dealerships in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts, said proposed work in the northwest corner of the property near Kissen Brook will have “no adverse impact on the offsite wetlands” because “no direct discharges to wetlands are proposed.”
“In fact, the proposed site landscaping and updated drainage and stormwater improvements are anticipated to have a positive impact on the natural environment and represent a significant improvement over the use of the property to store raw construction materials,” the consultants for Curry said in an application to Danbury’s wetlands board.
Consultants are referring to plans by Curry to demolish the concrete building and shed on the property and build a retaining wall at the northwest corner of the site that would be filled with dirt to raise the grade for a new parking lot.
Construction involving buildings and parking lots are always a concern near environmentally sensitive wetlands, which provide natural flood protection by slowing storm water runoff and draining it.
“There will also be a catch basin in the corner (near Kissen Brook) to collect storm runoff and discharge the flows to onsite underground detention system,” the Curry consultants said in the application.
Wednesday’s hearing before the Environmental Impact Commission will not deal with the entire scope of Curry’s plans for a showroom with parking for 230 vehicles — such as the effect on neighborhood traffic — but only those aspects of construction near the wetlands that require special permission.
In addition to wetlands approval from the EIC, Curry needs a special exception approval from the Planning Commission, a permit from the Zoning Commission, and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The project has already received a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In 2020, Danbury amended zoning regulations to permit auto and truck sales and rentals in the light industrial zone, subject to a special exception.
“The proposed development includes the introduction of a comprehensive drainage system , including new catch basins … drainage swales, water quality structures and an underground storm water detention area,” Curry’s consultants said. “Peak runoff will be decreased by this system … thereby minimizing impacts to existing watercourses, storm drainage systems, and properties downgradient from the property.”