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.

20-Unit Residential Development Proposed for ‘Red Cross Building’ Site

The town on Tuesday received an application to redevelop a property at the former Red Cross building on Main Street, moving the ca. 1889 structure closer to the road and putting in a multi-family residential structure with 20 apartments behind it. The proposed redevelopment will include nine one-bedroom units and eleven two-bedroom units, and as an affordable housing project six of the units will be rented at lower rates, according to the voluminous application. The building itself will include a grade-level parking garage and four stories on top of that, for a total building height of 52 feet and eight inches, according to the application filed by attorney Ryan Hoyler of Hartford-based Hinckley Allen. Hoyler represents property owner 51 Main Street LLC, which acquired the antique building and .38-acre parcel in 2017 for $740,000, tax records show.

Spa Planned for Former New Balance Space on Main Street

Vacant for more than one year, the commercial space on Main Street that used to house New Balance New Canaan is poised to get a new tenant. A Westport-based spa is planning to open its second location in the building at 130 Main St., pending approval by the Planning & Zoning Commission. New Beauty & Wellness will “perform spa treatments that shall include facials, BoTox treatments, massages and other wellness treatments,” according to an application filed with P&Z. Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (see page 73), personal service establishments are allowed in the Retail A Zone under a number of conditions, including that “the retail component must be located along the entire tenancy facing the street” and “the retail area must be a minimum of 15 feet in depth.”

According to the application, just one part of an 86-square-foot treatment room will overlap with the 15-foot area, though the commercial space there “has a particularly wide storefront” and, as such, the applicant is seeking administrative approval from the town. “Additionally, the floor plan demonstrates the personal service part of the establishment is not located along the building’s immediate frontage and is set back and hidden behind walls from the street view,” the application said.

Land Use Attorney: New Canaan’s ‘Moratorium’ Application Is Incomplete and Non-Approvable

New Canaan’s widely anticipated application for four years of relief from an affordable housing law—which town officials had said would be submitted to the state April 28—is incomplete and won’t be approved as written, according to a memo from a prominent land use attorney. The town’s voluminous application for a “moratorium” under state law 8-30g is “unapproveable” and “should not be submitted to the Connecticut Department of Housing, for at least two reasons,” according to a 10-page memo filed with the town planner by attorney Timothy Hollister of Hartford-based Hinckley Allen. First, the town has not obtained the “housing unit equivalent” or “HUE” points needed for the moratorium because it hasn’t obtained a permanent Certificate of Occupancy, Hollister said in his memo (available here, minus attachments). The memo was filed with Town Planner Lynn Brooks Avni as part of a required 20-day public comment period, whose deadline was extended from April 28 to 29 “[b]ased on a delay in Town offices in making a copy of the application available,” Hollister said. “Every town that qualifies for a moratorium under the rules and regulations should be granted one, but this application, at this time, is well short,” he said in the memo, obtained by NewCanaanite.com.