A CVS pharmacy on the former Gales Ferry School property moved a step closer to reality Thursday after the Ledyard Zoning Commission approved the plan with conditions following a two-hour public hearing.
Conditions include receiving water and septic system approval from the Ledge Light Health District and incorporating signage and window revisions into the final site plan.
Several spoke in favor of the proposal during the hearing. No one was opposed.
Plans call for a new 13,658-square-foot store directly across Route 12 from Ocean State Job Lot. The developer, GB New England 2, is hoping to break ground in the spring and be open business next fall.
Plans for the new store have been modified over the course of the application process. The proposed building has been moved further back on the parcel at the town’s request. The free-standing sign out on Route 12 has been reduced by about half, and parking has been reduced to about 69 spaces.
The gabled building would be “New England-y” in appearance, with a gray clapboard and white trim exterior on a red brick base.
Because the store is being built in the Gales Ferry Design District, the developer was required to obtain a special permit in order to have parking in the front. The project is still subject to state DOT approval.
Atty. William Sweeney, of the law firm TCORS, presented the plan. He called the project compatible with the intent of the Gales Ferry District, noting that the site had previously been approved for a pharmacy. "We believe the project will be a catalyst for further development along Route 12," he said.
Several spoke in support of the plan.
Gales Ferry resident Paul Krug had a question about site lines along Route 12 as motorists exit the pharmacy parking lot. But he also called the project “long overdue.”
Mayor Fred B. Allyn Jr., Republican mayoral candidate John Rodolico, Town Council Chairman Terry Jones and Mike Cherry of the EDC all spoke in support of the project, thanking members of the Zoning and Economic Development commissions, and Town Planner Charlie Karno, for their efforts in bringing the project this far.
Resident Howard Smith called the CVS “an asset that is needed in this town, and one we’ve waited a long time for.”