May 24, 2022

Essex Zoning Commission Approves Special Permit for Centerbrook Pharmacy

ESSEX— The zoning commission Monday unanimously approved a special permit for a new pharmacy in vacant former restaurant space in the commercial building at 31-33 Main St. in the Centerbrook section. The panel acted after a public hearing where the plan from Quality Care Drug/Centerbrook LLC drew no objections and expressions of support from two residents.

The partnership led by Pharmacist Greg McKenna operates five small pharmacies in Connecticut, including pharmacies in Haddam and Portland. The space in the 31-33 Main St. building had been previously occupied by restaurants, but has been vacant for about three years. The 31-33 Main St. building had previously housed Doane’s Pharmacy, a locally owned independent pharmacy that operated for decades before closing about seven years ago.

Before winning quick approval from the zoning commission at the special meeting Monday, the application last week had secured approval of a variance from the zoning board of appeals. The variance allows 35 parking spaces for the building where 44 spaces would be required under zoning regulations.

John Weinstein, a partner with building owner JMB Properties of Cheshire, told the commission Monday the new pharmacy would be an asset to the town, and would require less parking than any possible restaurant use. The pharmacy is expected to open before the end of the year.

The commission Monday also approved a special permit allowing the Essex Volunteer Fire Department to open a fire training facility on a section of Greider Field, a property owned by the fire department on the east side of Plains Road that also contains a recreational ball field. The fire department plan drew no objections at a Sept. 16 public hearing.