DERBY - The Derby Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) upheld a decision on Thursday, Dec. 22, on a change of use permit issued by the town’s Zoning Administrator Bob Kelley. The change is from office to retail and office space designation.
The ZBA’s decision can be appealed to Environmental Court within the 30 days following Thursday’s decision.
The change allows for the adult novelty store Good Stuff to open a store at 4267 Route 5 next to Roaster’s Café.
The Derby Planning Commission originally held a public hearing on the issue on Sept. 26 for the change of use. No one from the public attended.
Kelley and all Derby officials maintain that they didn't know what kind of store would open when the permit was granted.
Joe Profera, chairperson of the ZBA and the planning commission, said Tuesday that the board has no legal way to prevent the change of use.
The following day after the permit was granted, Good Stuff applied for a sign permit with the town.
The news of the business has created outrage in the town among some who say they find the type of store morally offensive. The only way opponents thought they could stop the business was to appeal Kelley’s decision. However, the opponents, which include Dr. Richard O’Hara and Rick Dubois, both Village of Derby Center Trustees, did not obtain legal assistance for their side; they relied on arguments of morality and also brought up community concerns.
O'Hara said that he would like adult entertainment stores to be located in the town industrial zone. O’Hara has acknowledged that the Constitution guarantees certain freedoms and said that is why he is recommending only allowing such business in certain areas of the town.
O’Hara and others have brought up concerns over potential secondary impacts such as affects on property values and retail values of other entities nearby. Many residents have also expressed dismay over the lack of disclosure concerning what type of business was going in the property.
Property owner Joe Warantz said he had no agreement with Good Stuff when he sought the change of use. He said that many different people looked into renting the space, inducing Good Stuff. The agreement occurred with the store after the change of use was granted.
Derby’s bylaws do not specify types of retail uses.
Profera says he agrees with the opponents, but has no legal way to stop the store from opening.
Not all residents are opposed to Good Stuff opening in Derby, however. Those who support the store did not speak up at a town meeting but several expressed support through letters to the editor.