Construction is expected to begin by spring on a second upscale condo building along the Branford River at the Anchor Reef complex across from the train station.
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) unanimously approved revisions to the original master plans Thursday night. The commission also held a public hearing on a proposal to build a bank and a fast food restaurant in the Stop & Shop parking lot, but no decision was made.
Attorney David Gibson, who represents developer Jason Ziegler, told the Eagle that construction will begin on the new condo building “by spring at least, or hopefully earlier.”
The building will house 30 upscale condos and will be nearly a mirror image of the existing structure. During his presentation last month, Gibson told the P&Z that all units in the first building have been sold.
The original master plan, which was approved in 2001, called for three new condo buildings, a hotel, offices and one renovated condo building. The new plans include the two additional condo buildings, and offices that will be smaller in scale than originally planned. The hotel has been eliminated and will be replaced by a lawn area for passive recreation. The complex currently includes a club house and a factory building that has been renovated into 14 upscale residential units.
The site along Maple Street was previously the location of Malleable Iron Fittings (MIF), which was Branford’s largest manufacturer before it closed in 1971.
Town Planner Shirley Rasmussen said the modified master plan and the site plans comply with P&Z regulations and do not negatively impact coastal resources. She listed several conditions that must be met regarding landscaping and additional documentation.
BANKING AND MUNCHING
There was no public opposition to plans presented to construct a bank and a fast food restaurant on the Stop & Shop supermarket property along Leetes Island Road at Exit 56.
Project engineer John Mancini, representing developers Fusco-Shiller Branford Associates LLC, said several banks and fast food chains have approached them about locating there. He said McDonald’s and Panera Bread are among those expressing interest in the project.
“We’re dealing with multiple potential users,” said Mancini of BL Companies in Meriden. He said architectural plans can’t be submitted until decisions have been made about the specific occupants.
Mancini (pictured) said the former Friendly’s restaurant would be torn down and a bank would be built on that site. He said there will be a slight increase in building area compared to the Friendly’s structure, but there would be a decrease in paved area around the building. Plans call for planting 27 trees and 100 shrubs in the area.
“When this (Friendly’s) went dark, we felt there was an opportunity to clean this area up,” he said. The bank will be further back from Leetes Island Road, and access will be from the parking lot side, not the road side as it currently is.
The restaurant would be built in the northwest corner of the parking lot, a left turn after entering the complex from Leetes Island Road. “It’s pretty much an unused parking lot,” Mancini said.
Rasmussen expressed concern about the traffic pattern and entrance and exits for the fast food building.
“It is the most safe and most logical way,” Mancini said. He said plans call for installing islands in the parking lot to control traffic flow for the grocery store.
Rasmussen said the original master plan for the area was approved in 1985, before her tenure as town planner. She said the new plans appear to be “moving in the right direction” regarding the decrease in paved area, setting the bank further back from the highway, and adding trees and shrubs. She said the commission will need to see the architectural plans for the exterior of the building and the floor plans.
Town Engineer Janice Plaziak sent a request asking that the entire area around the new buildings have new pavement, instead of a “patchwork” of new and old pavement as proposed. Mancini said that will be possible.
Rasmussen said the commission will need time to review the plans and will discuss them at a future meeting before a decision is made.
The P&Z also approved a proposal from the Branford Yacht Club to purchase adjacent property owned by Stefanie Eckholm Boyd at 50 Goodsell Point Road that has been used for boat storage. The Yacht Club plans to combine the Boyd property with Yacht Club property that was previously approved for boat storage. There was no opposition to the project during the public hearing.