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CVS Site Plan Gets Favorable Review

Plans Discussed Monday at Joint Meeting of Zoning Commission and EDC

A modified site plan for a CVS pharmacy on the former Gales Ferry School property was reviewed Monday by members of the Zoning Commission and Economic Development Commission at a second review workshop requested by the applicant.

EDC Chairman Mike Cherry summed up what appeared to be the consensus of the commissioners: The meeting went well and there were no “show-stoppers.” 

The developer, GB New England 2, is planning to submit a formal site plan in time for a public hearing to be held in September or October. Paul Beck, representing the developer, said CVS is hoping to break ground in the spring of 2012 and be open for business by the fall.

The bulk of Monday’s discussion concerned details of the project, from sidewalks and setbacks to the height of the roof and depth of the windows. “New England-y” was a term was used several times in discussing the intent of the Gales Ferry regulations.

Project engineer Paul Vitaliano of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin in Middletown said the location of the 1,360-square-foot pharmacy had been moved back slightly from Route 12, compared to an earlier plan, to allow from more of a buffer and improved site lines. Most of the parking will be in front of the building.

The building itself will be gray clapboard with white trim and a red brick base. The pitched, gabled roof will be 28 feet high at the peak. Commissioners discussed whether full-length windows or half windows would be preferable, and also discussed appropriate lighting for the parking lot.

“This is a contemporary building, maybe not by California standards, but by New England standards,” said Zoning Commission Chairman Eric Treaster, who encouraged the applicant to consider Gales Ferry District “ambiance” when choosing lighting for the site.

A traffic signal will be installed at the Route 12 and Hurlbutt Road intersection as part of the project. The town also intends to have the temporary classrooms at the former Gales Ferry School removed.

“I think the plan met with a fairly agreeable review,” said architect Kevin Paton of BKA Architects of Brockton, MA. He said he appreciated the cooperation from town officials.

“I believe we’re giving the town a project that fits in well with the area,” Beck said. “I think it’s a win-win.”

Maureen Davis Reubelt August 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM
I hope the CVS will encourage new business and a grocery store too!
Kimlyn Marshall August 23, 2011 at 11:45 AM
If OSJL would revamp their stores and parking lot I bet grocery stores would beg to go in there.
Julian Lupienski August 23, 2011 at 11:50 AM
best news i have heard coming from ledyard in a long time. i was surprised about the traffic light. i was under the impression at least at one time no light. i am glad to hear level heads made the right decision i hope a cross walk and the ability to change the light so individuals can cross without the need to run.
Mike Cherry August 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Bill Thank You for your review of the session and assist in getting the word out. Slight correction: I'm not the chair - Stephen Eichelberg, Chairman Jeffrey Beacham, Vice Chairman Mike Cherry Steve Shuttleworth Richard Tashea The project team has put forth considerable effort and energy in developing the current proposal. The next steps involve public comment and approval of the proposal - good press helps. Thanks
mike campbell August 23, 2011 at 12:48 PM
i'm all for it.providing the term "tax abatements" don't come into play.
Bill Thorndike August 23, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Doh! Thanks for clarifying, Mike.
Greg Wong August 23, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I am glad that CVS is filling up the void left by the failed Rite Aid project. It seems that the applicant is willing to work with the Town to get the project approved. Of course, the biggest hurdle will be the Zoning Board and more specifically, the strict rules for building design in the Gales Ferry Design District. Mr. Treaster is alluding to that when he told the applicant to consider the "ambience" of Gales Ferry with regards to site lighting. I have served with Chairman Treaster on the Zoning Board and find that he applies the zoning regulations strictly (and fairly) to the letter. While the regulations are clear, the applicant would be well advised to engage with the Zoning Board and Chariman Treaster on what this means. As for how this would affect business in Gales Ferry? Personally, I am in favor of the CVS and hope that a supermarket (to fill the gap of the former Better Value) would also come into Gales Ferry.
Fred Allyn III August 24, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Great to see this moving ahead as Ledyard needs commercial development to bolster our tax base. I believe the article incorrectly states the store to be 1,360 square feet as opposed to 13,600 square feet, which is more likely. I believe a traffic signal for such a user is a must (consider the median age of those that frequent pharmacies).
Cheri Sullivan August 24, 2011 at 01:33 AM
I would much rather see something different occupy that space, not something that we have 2 of within ten minutes of us (Groton & Montville). I think a grocery store would be a wonderful addition. I have been saying for the past couple of years that the school site would be a perfect place for an Aldi's. Prior to the one in Lisbon, I knew of none closer to us other than in Windham, Danielson and Warwick, RI. Even with the addition of the Lisbon location, that is still a ride for us Ledyard/Gales Ferry residents, unlike having to go to Groton or Montville for a CVS. For more info on Aldi's, go to http://www.aldi.us/index_ENU_HTML.htm. For info on "real estate opportunities" for Aldi's, go to http://www.aldi.us/us/html/company/company_real_estate_opportunities_ENU_HTML.htm?WT.z_src=main If you read that real estate info, tell me that the GF School site doesn't sound like the perfect spot for this great grocery store!
Edee Smith August 24, 2011 at 03:39 PM
A grocery store would be great but this is a great start. We have a large senior citizen population that will much appreciate this store. Remember CVS sell more than drugs.
Doreen Wesche-Soldato August 26, 2011 at 01:01 AM
In my opinion what this CVS needs to have in it, is a Minute Clinic. Currently, there are only 11 Minute Clinics in the entire state, with the closest (and the newest) being in Colchester. The other 10 are situated around Hartford and the southwest of the state. Minute Clinics are usually staffed by a PA and have a list of services they provide which make them very convenient. They do sports physicals, and more vaccinations than just influenza. I can guarantee, especially with the loss of the Backus Walk-in across the street that was next to the Job Lot, lots of people would use this CVS store because of its Minute Clinic. The other convenience is that if you are diagnosed by the PA right in the store, you get your prescriptions right there and you are on your way. Because this would draw more people to this store in Gales Ferry, it may also draw more potential businesses, like, say a nice grocery store to the plaza across the street? I think these are things that definitely need to be considered, and as such would be a win-win situation for both parties.
Bob August 30, 2011 at 03:33 PM
It will be a great addition if the town does not interfere in the process by throwing up more hurdles. It seems to me, the town goes out of it's way to discourage business growth in Gales Ferry. Let's be reasonable... Gales Ferry is not a quaint "touristy type" of village, let's quit making it in possible for businesses to operate there and maybe then we can get OSJL to clean up their property and get a grocery store and others to fill all those empty store fronts.

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