Northford Store plan concerns residents

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
July 15, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — A plan to create a mixed-use development as part of rebuilding the Northford Store won approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission last week, but the group still has questions about design of the store itself.

The commission granted a special-use permit to build five one-bedroom apartments above the new store, but extended the public hearing on the store’s site plan to Aug. 7.

Commission members have some concerns about the architectural design of the building, and a plan for a drive-through window that would be used to sell coffee, Town Planner Carol Zebb said.

Some Northford residents who live near the Middletown Avenue store have spoken in opposition to the drive-through proposal at earlier public hearings, saying it would bring too much traffic and noise.

The store, the original part of which was built in 1870, burned to the ground in March.

Owner Nick Demos has proposed a new mixed-use development with the five apartments in addition to the new store.

Demos declined to comment on the plans Monday.

Zebb said the Planning and Zoning Commission took a vote on the residential units, but decided to postpone discussing the site plan after meeting for three hours.

“The commission did raise concerns about what the architectural appearance of the building was (and) they still had some issues about the drive-through,” she said. “So they still haven’t given a final approval for the overall project.”

She added that the commission will almost certainly vote on the issue Aug. 7 because the statutory timeline to make a decision has almost run out.

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