WILTON – The Planning Board voted 6-1 Thursday to grant a permit to DMK Development for the new Tractor Supply Co. store for Routes 2 and 4.

The approval is pending receipt of Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, State Fire Marshal and other required state permits.

A DEP public hearing for a storm-water permit is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at the town office, Code Enforcement Officer Paul Montague said. The permit is needed because of the amount of land that will be moved to level the site for construction.

Prior to the vote, the board approved a parking waiver for the developer, also with a vote of 6-1.

The number of parking slots required around commercial buildings based on square footage of the building – in this case 19,000 square feet – would have required 95 spaces for the new store. The plans presented by Stephen Bradstreet of Oak Engineers of Portland provided for 77 spaces around the store across from Bryant Road.

Customer visits to this type of store are generally shorter and spread out, Bradstreet noted. The planned parking spaces are also slightly larger to accommodate the majority of customers who come in pickup trucks or with trailers to haul the merchandise available at these stores.

According to store statistics from Tractor Supply Co.’s 800 stores nationwide, their busiest time is Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., when stores register 30 to 50 customers, who generally only stay 15 to 20 minutes, said Chris Kettler from Muskegon, Mich., who was representing Tractor Supply Co.

While most board members thought the statistics indicated fewer spaces were needed and would require less paving, one member thought the company had not proven a hardship as required by the town’s ordinance to grant the waiver.

The board walked the property prior to the meeting to review the company’s plans. Store construction is expected to begin in August with an opening date of April 2010. The store will employ eight to 12 full- and part-time employees and be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The stores specialize in apparel, western and work wear, as well as animal feed and health products, along with lawn and gardening equipment, Kettler said.

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