Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Plans submitted for bank branch, hardware store

By Jason Rowe
Journal Inquirer
September 6, 2006

VERNON - Developers have submitted plans for a new Sovereign Bank branch on Talcottville Road.

Meanwhile, the Planning and Zoning Commission also is being asked to consider improvements to the Kelly-Fradet lumber store on Windsor Avenue, which could be converted to a chain hardware store.

The PZC is scheduled to receive both applications and set public hearings at its next meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Vernon Senior Center on Park Place.

The new bank would be constructed at 560 Talcottville Road, which is between Dart Hill and Loveland Hill roads.

Developers will reduce the existing building on the site - a former car dealership - from 6,260 square feet to roughly 3,883 square-feet.

The new bank branch would sit on approximately 2.16 acres.

The developer of the project - 560 Realty LLC of Vernon - already has obtained a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for a front yard setback for the site.

According to the company's Web site, the new location would be Sovereign Bank's first stand-alone branch in town.

Sovereign Bank already operates a branch in the Shaw's Supermarket on Windsorville Road.

Sovereign Bank is constructing a new branch in at least one other area town.

Workers are putting the finishing touches on a new Sovereign Bank branch at the corner of West Middle Turnpike and Adams Street in Manchester.

In addition to the proposed bank branch, the PZC will be asked to consider changes to a lumber company on Windsor Avenue.

According to an application submitted by FRP Holdings Vernon LLC of Springfield, developers plan to convert the existing Kelly-Fradet lumber store to a new Rocky's Ace Hardware Store.

A phone message seeking comment from Kelly-Fradet officials today was not returned.

To prepare for the conversion, developers are proposing a small addition to the main building on the site, bringing the store's square footage from 14,935 to about 15,988 square feet.

The building's alterations primarily involve non-public areas, such as a new stock receiving area, manager's office, and break room, as well as changes to the building's storefront and signs, according to Larry Rusiecki of Doucet & Associates Inc. of Easthampton, Mass., the project's engineering firm.

The store's existing fenced lumber and building materials display and storage area will be reduced in size to accommodate a new outdoor garden display area and a new 1,000-gallon propane storage tank and dispensing area.

"The proposed building modifications will not encroach any closer to the existing residential structures to the rear of the site on Terrace Drive," Rusiecki wrote. "Additionally, the existing vegetation and chain link fencing to the rear of the parcel will not be altered, in order to maintain a buffer to the neighboring residences."

Both Rusiecki and bank representatives said they do not expect their projects to have a substantial impact on traffic along Route 83, which includes both Talcottville Road and Windsor Avenue.

Mayor Ellen L. Marmer, noting that the new businesses are indicative of a boost in the community's reputation, said today she was pleased to hear about plans for the two projects.

"It's just something that continues to give people outside of our community and our community in general a message that we are moving forward," Marmer said. "Frankly, it just makes me smile. People are recognizing how good a community we are."

©Journal Inquirer 2006