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NORWALK, Conn. -- Late last week the State of Connecticut Appellate Court denied a petition brought by opponents of Stew Leonard's proposed store in Orange, Conn. to appeal the approval granted by the Town Planning and Zoning Commission, thereby removing a major obstacle to the retailer's construction of a store on the Marsh Hill Road site it has owned since 1996.
"[The] ruling is significant for Stew Leonard's, and brings us another step closer to being able to build a store on our site in Orange," said Stew Leonard's v.p. Doug Hempstead in a statement. "We are thrilled with this decision, and would like to thank the town of Orange and the community for their continued support."
The case isn't fully resolved, however. The opponents currently have an appeal pending before the Appellate Court on the Inland Wetland and Watercourses Commission's approval to construct the store. The court asked Superior Court Judge Thomas Nadeau for further documentation, which is due Jan. 22. It could then be another two months before the court issues a ruling on whether it will hear the case. If the request is denied, Stew Leonard's can begin building, but if the request to appeal is granted, the process could take another year or two.
Opponents of the store have cited such objections as increased traffic and crime.
"We always said we would love to build a store in Orange. We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are confident that we will prevail in the Inland Wetlands case," said Stew Leonard, Jr. president of the family business.
Family-owned Stew Leonard's currently operates three stores in Norwalk and Danbury, Conn. and Yonkers, N.Y., with a fourth store planned for April 2007 in Newington, Conn.