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Pet Pantry, Neighbors Fight Eversource Plans In Greenwich

Pet Pantry Warehouse at 290 Railroad Ave. Eversource wants to locate a new substation on the site that Pet Pantry has leased from Eversource.
Pet Pantry Warehouse at 290 Railroad Ave. Eversource wants to locate a new substation on the site that Pet Pantry has leased from Eversource. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn. -- A long-established pet supply company along with local residents are hoping to prevent an expansion of an Eversource substation on a neighborhood site.

Pet Pantry Warehouse is at 290 Railroad Ave. and has subleased the site from Eversource (formerly Connecticut Light & Power) for more than 40 years.

Adam Jacobson, executive vice president of the family-owned business, said the issue is larger than Pet Pantry.

"This is not just a Pet Pantry issue. It is a town of Greenwich issue. We just happen to be in the bull's eye," he said.

The utility plans to build a new substation on the site and then connect through an underground line to the existing substation in Cos Cob. Eversource said the work needs to be done to meet rising customer demand that could see the existing substation beyond its maximum capacity in two years.

Frank Poirot, an Eversource spokesman, said the substation needs to be built and up and running by 2017.

"The timing is critical in order to meet the growing energy needs of the community."

Dwight Ueda, a local resident opposed to the plan, said the substation will dramatically affect the area.

"This is not going to be a little thing," he said. "It is going to change the character of the area."

He said the nearby community is an area that attracts younger couples and families and he maintained that a large substation will negatively affect property values and make it less appealing for newcomers.

Eversource will file its application to the Connecticut Siting Council by the late spring for approval, Poirot said. He said the utility has listened carefully to community concerns at public forums and meetings in Greenwich and said the original plan has been changed to reflect that. He declined to say what those changes are.

As part of that process there will be a public hearing in Greenwich.

The utility leased the site in 1971 and in turn subleased it to Pet Pantry the same year. The utility notified Pet Pantry a year and a half ago of its plans. The sub lease with Pet Pantry has been terminated, Poirot said.

Jacobson said he is hoping Eversource's plans will be derailed.

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