P&Z Approves Dunkin Donuts’ Move to South & Elm

The Planning & Zoning Commission last week approved a proposal from Dunkin Donuts to move from its current location on Elm Street down to the intersection at South Avenue. 

P&Z during a regular meeting held June 28 voted 9-0 in favor of a site plan application for 44 Elm St., former site of the CBD Store. The new location will double the coffee shop’s space in a newly designed interior with windows overlooking two streets, according to Jim Cain, representing the applicant. 

“Basically just continue 25 years of awesome service in the town of New Canaan which we’ve had the pleasure of doing business there,” Cain told members of P&Z. Commission Chair John Goodwin, Secretary Krista Neilson and members Kent Turner, Dick Ward, John Kriz, Claire Tiscornia, John Engel, James Basch and Paul Knag voted in favor of the application. Commissioners Dan Radman, Arthur Casevant and Chris Hering were absent. P&Z members asked Cain and owner’s rep Paul Stone what happened to plans to move across Elm to a commercial space next to the Playhouse (there was a need to increase the power capability there which scuttled that plan), what will happen with mezzanine level that had been in the CBD Store (it will be demolished), whether the basement will be open to the public (no), whether the fit-out will be ADA-compliant (yes), how the exterior door to South Avenue will be used (for deliveries), whether customers will use that door (no customers will come and go from Elm Street), what sort of illumination will be used (it will conform to the Planning & Zoning Regulations), whether there will be outdoor seating (that will be planned in the future) and how the store will get rid of its garbage (there will be multiple pickups during the day by way of the South Avenue door). 

Commissioners also urged Cain to use tasteful sandwich boards and ensure the area around the store is clean.

‘I’m Kind of Scratching My Head’: Councilmen Question 1913 Building-Related Clause in Draft Agreement Between Town, Library

The Board of Selectmen created new problems for New Canaan Library and its estimated $35 million rebuilding plan by reopening questions regarding preservation of its original 1913 building without the organization’s knowledge, members of the town’s legislative body said last week. Last March, the Town Council voted down a motion that would have effectively halted the library’s project for one year so that preservationists could figure out a use for the 1913 building and fundraise for its restoration and maintenance. The library is seeking a $10 million contribution from the town toward the project and is fundraising the balance. Yet it came to light last week that a draft agreement between the town and library—a Memorandum of Understanding or “MOU” that the selectmen approved and that now is making its way to the Board of Finance and, eventually, Town Council—includes a new clause that allows for a decision on whether to demolish the original 1913 library building to be put off for at least two years during construction. “I was surprised to see that paragraph in there, in the MOU, because I thought the MOU after waiting which is six months—you could actually say a year—where we emotionally came to the decision that we did,” Councilman Steve Karl said during the elected body’s regular meeting, held Feb.

First Selectman Questions Whether Town Videoconferencing Tool Used ‘Appropriately’

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan on Thursday questioned whether a videoconferencing service purchased by the town to bolster communications during the COVID-19 public health emergency is being employed appropriately by one elected official behind its regular use. The town in March began reserving Zoom accounts with participant limits ranging from 100 to 500, and they’re used not only to run and broadcast public meetings but also for a daily afternoon video call moderated by Town Council Chair John Engel, Moynihan said during a press briefing attended by NewCanaanite.com and Hearst Connecticut. Engel, a Realtor, on Tuesday used the town account to host a real estate-focused panel during the regular 4 p.m. time slot—an event teased and promoted in email blasts through his Halstead account. “We aren’t clear on how he is using it,” Moynihan said in reference to the town Zoom account when asked about it during the briefing, itself held via videoconference. The daily call started out “as a community service,” Moynihan said.