Conn. C-Store Forced to Remove Outdoor Computers, Reduce Lighting

A zoning board in a Connecticut town has ordered a gas station owner to stop using computer screens at its gas pumps and to control lighting problems at the store, Voices Newspaper reported.

The Monroe Zoning Board of Appeals upheld a zoning enforcement officer’s earlier order that required Monroe Food Mart to stop using animated computer screens at the gas pumps and reduce outdoor lighting at the store, the newspaper reported.

The convenience store owner had filed an appeal to the zoning officer’s order and asked the zoning board to overturn the decision, but it was a move that ultimately failed.

Zoning board members agreed with the zoning officer that the "subject lighting installed in the under canopy has not been installed, featuring a 90-degree cutoff angle of illumination or recessed above the lower canopy line as defined by the special exception permit is a correct finding of fact,” the newspaper reported.

The board also said "the habitual and continuous installation and removal of signs, including posters, banners and other devices that meet the definition of a sign, have been made without benefit and approval of the permit procedure."

The store’s fight began last August when a neighboring resident complained about gas station computers that blast advertisements or news “loudly at all hours of the day and night.” The resident said daytime advertisements were acceptable, but 12 p.m. to 5 a.m. is unreasonable.

The zoning officer also said the gas station’s outdoor lights were higher wattage than when the station had first opened, and its outdoor computer screens violated zoning regulations that prohibit “animated or moving” signs.

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