Aldi gains Branford wetlands approval, goes before PZC Thursday

The possible future site of an Aldi supermarket at 1151 W. Main St. in Branford.

BRANFORD — With long-awaited Inland Wetlands Commission approval behind it, a developer looking to build an Aldi grocery store at 1151 W. Main St. now will go before the Planning & Zoning Commission Thursday in hopes of gaining final approval.

The IWC, in an online Zoom meeting, gave its approval to Sound Development Group’s plan for a 19,210-square-foot Aldi store and a separate 3,470-square-foot Chase Bank building that would affect wetlands on the nearly 10-acre property, in a 3-1 vote last Thursday with one abstention.

It came after several months of deliberations that began last December, which included concerns from neighbors on nearby Home Place, which backs up to the property and its wetlands, as well as members of the Branford Land Trust.

Aldi is a German-owned cousin of Trader Joe’s known for its low prices, high-quality store brands, no-frills style and growing selection of natural and organic foods.

Meanwhile, neighbors of another nearby property, the Rockledge Condominium Association, submitted a letter in support of the application.

Many of the Home Place neighbors were at least partially satisfied as a result of a meeting in January with the developer’s lawyer, John Knuff of Hurwitz, Sagarin, Slossberg & Knuff.

Several residents continued to raise questions in recent meetings about proposed filling of wetlands despite the developer having amended its application to reduce the amount of filling from the original 11,000 square feet to about 9,600 square feet.

The application now also proposes a “2 to 1 wetland mitigation” plan in which more than 20,000 square feet of new wetlands would be created, the developer’s consultants have said.

The PZC application will be heard in a public hearing that will take place during a meeting that begins at 7 p.m. Thursday. That meeting also will be on Zoom. A web address for that meeting was not yet posted as part of the meeting’s agenda as of Tuesday afternoon.

The parcel, owned by members of the Maturo family, once was home to a series of auto dealerships, most recently Branford Mitsubishi, but has long been vacant.

Connecticut Media Group