Letter: Resident questions site of proposed liquor store

To the editor,

Whether it’s in Naugatuck or another part of the state, liquor establishments could be a detriment to the local community.

One extreme instance that comes to mind was the former Pandora’s Cabaret in Waterbury. This was a disorderly nightclub located in the Brooklyn section of town near churches, homes and schools. Notwithstanding, the nightclub also saw its share of criminal activity.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary and Waterbury police Chief Vernon L. Riddick Jr. opposed the granting of the liquor permit at Pandora’s because of a “violation of criminal statutes” and “a pattern of criminal activity,” according to a Memorandum of Decision issued by the state Department of Consumer Protection.

Opposed residents of Waterbury wrote letters of objection to the Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division. This started what is called a remonstrance process. This process starts after any ten residents of the said town write an objection letter for an application for a liquor permit to Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division. The remonstrants are then able to voice their concerns at a hearing and an agent from the group of remonstrants is notified of this date.

This example of Pandora’s Cabaret is one of the more extreme cases I’ve read about, but the remonstrance process is something for Naugatuck residents to consider. This is what I thought of when I read a placard on the outskirts of Naugatuck on Prospect Street announcing a request for a liquor permit for that site. The proposed liquor store would lie about 250 yards from the Prospect town line and across the street from homes on Route 68. Clark Hill Road in Prospect is just over the town line across from Spring Street. Half of Spring Street is located in Naugatuck. One can only imagine the deleterious effects a liquor store could have on this residential area.

One of the first things that comes to mind is how there will be increased pedestrian foot traffic from area homes across the busy thoroughfare to the liquor store. Notwithstanding, it could also lead to accidents. There is a bend in the road just over the Prospect town line and there have been several bad accidents in this spot over the past few years. Traffic always build up there every afternoon at rush hour and a liquor store in this spot would make it worse. I can’t even imagine the rush hour gridlock if a liquor store is built there. There’s already enough speeding on our local side streets, and there’s potential for motorists to drink and drive.

There are already three liquor stores in the small town of Prospect and are all located in the uptown area. Why does the owner of Fine Wine and Liquor LLC in Naugatuck need to open another one on the town line? There are plenty of other sites around town to build a new liquor store.

I have many sad forebodings about the future with a new liquor store in the neighborhood. It’s hard to not think of some of the worst-case scenarios. I urge residents of Naugatuck who are opposed to please contact the Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division and inquire about the remonstrance process. It only takes ten people over the age of 18 to start a remonstrance petition, which would lead to a hearing.

James McGrath