Popular Elm Street Café Seeks Permission To Place ‘Pole’ Sign Out Front

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Dolce, an Italian-style café at 98 Elm St. in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Saying it would help bring visibility, the owner of an Italian-style café on Elm Street is seeking permission from town officials to place a “pole sign” out front of the eatery.

The pole sign, as per the Dolce application to P&Z.

According to Dolce owner Andrea Lombardi, patrons have had difficulty finding the café at 98 Elm St. “due to its setback from the rest of the buildings on my side of the street.”

“Unfortunately, this has been further impacted by the large planter that was recently placed on the street (in a no parking zone) in front of my business,” Lombardi said in an Aug. 23 letter to the Planning & Zoning Commission. “This sign would be upon my landlord’s property and as shown by the enclosed picture, would help ‘direct’ potential patrons to my store and inform them of what I am serving.”

The Italy native opened Dolce two months ago in the former New Canaan Olive Oil space.

The “pole sign” in question is anchored in a planter, according to the application, and informs onlookers that Dolce sells coffee, breakfast, salads, panini, pastries, gelato, crepes and cakes. It’s 8-foot-9-inches high, according to the town planner.

Dolce, an Italian-style café at 98 Elm St. in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (see page 135 here), “sandwich and easel board type signs” are prohibited in business zones. An applicant may apply to Planning & Zoning for site plan approval, however. 

P&Z in recent years has sought to strike a balance between allowing businesses to operate as best they can and enforcing prohibitions on certain signs, taking steps in cases when they impede pedestrians or disabled people on the sidewalk.

The Commission is scheduled to take up the application at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24.

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