A family-owned insurance agency plans to open an office in a Pine Street building that’s been vacant since the summer of 2018.
Headquartered in Bangor, Maine and owned by three generations of the Cross family, Cross Insurance is seeking permission from Planning & Zoning to operate a New Canaan location at 50 Pine St., formerly occupied by equestrian riding equipment provider Beval Saddlery.
Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, a special permit is needed for office or medical use with a total gross floor area of more than 10,000 square feet in the Business A zone (page 78 here).
The 1950-built brick structure on Pine Street had been the original site of the Home Oil Company, according to the application filed on behalf of Cross Realty Connecticut LLC by attorney David Rucci of New Canaan-based Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLP.
“The applicant proposes to convert the first-floor retail space there to office, renovate the lower level office space, remove the landing docks, install handicap spaces and improve the parking and access,” the application said.
“The sidewalk along Pine Street will be reconstructed with brick pavers conforming to the town’s standard details. A 3-foot planter strip is provided between the back of the proposed sidewalk and the adjacent parking area. This area will be planted with a low boxwood hedge. Existing landscape shrubbery will remain along the right-hand side of the front of the building. A potion of the lawn area will be removed and replaced with bituminous concrete in order to allow one-way site access and parking that is safe, efficient and in conformance with town standards. A new three-foot landscape buffer of boxwood hedges will be provided along the handicap ramp leading to the north side of the building to the parking area and the ADA accessible handicap parking spaces. A portion of the existing paved landing dock area on the north side of the building will be removed and planted as lawn.”
Cross acquired the building and its .63-acre lot in the fall of 2018, and the following month Rucci applied successfully to the Planning & Zoning Commission to allow first-floor office use in the Business A zone.
P&Z is scheduled to take up the new special permit application at its regular meeting Tuesday.
According to the application, the building’s front facade “will remain unchanged except the green awnings with logos will be replaced with new black awnings.”
“The existing exposed masonry-block sides and rear of the building will be faced with simulated architectural stucco and painted,” it said. “Two new pole-mounted site lights conforming to the town’s standards, including cut-offs, will be installed in the rear parking area to provide safe agrees from the building to the parking area.”
Cross had applied to the New Canaan Building Department in October to renovate the interior of the building for office use.
Founded by Woodrow Cross in 1954, the insurance agency has more than 40 locations in New England, according to its website.