The Stop & Shop gas station on Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton has received zoning approval for longer hours, which appear to have actually been in effect for awhile.

The Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) recently approved the extended hours for the facility at 900 Bridgeport Ave. in the Shelton Square Shopping Center.

Stephen R. Bellis, land-use attorney for the local Stop & Shop, said one hour of operation will be added at the end of each day. “We’ll still close earlier than the store,” Bellis told the P&Z.

The new hours will be Monday to Saturday from 5:45 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday from 6:45 a.m.-10 p.m.

Not having supermarket and warehouse club gas stations open when the main store isn’t open has been a concern in many towns, because staffing is extremely minimal at the affiliated gas stations.

Many of the stations are staffed by one person per shift, and that could be an issue during an emergency such as a fire, leak or crime incident. In addition, the affiliated gas stations usually have a large number of gas pumps.

When did longer hours begin?

Based on earlier signage seen inside the Stop & Shop, it appears the longer gas station hours went into effect at least a month ago without having received zoning approval.

Many towns charge higher fees for zoning applications when they involve an after-the-fact request, as appears to be the case with the gas station hours, but Shelton does not do that. The higher fees are viewed as a way to encourage businesses and people to always seek the necessary zoning approval for actions.

The Board of Aldermen is looking at the idea of allowing higher after-the-fact zoning fees, which must be done through the ordinance process.

The Stop & Shop is located in a Planned Development District, and the P&Z can control the hours of operation for companies with facilities located within a PDD.

The legal owner of the Shelton Stop & Shop is Ahold USA Retail Inc.