June 26, 2022

Essex Zoning Commission Public Hearing Monday on Centerbrook Pharmacy Application

ESSEX— The zoning commission has scheduled a public hearing Monday on a special permit application for a pharmacy in the commercial building at 31-33 Main St. in the Centerbrook section. The hearing, one of four on the panel’s Monday agenda, begins at 7 p.m. in town hall.

Quality Care Drug/Centerbrook LLC is seeking to open a pharmacy in vacant space that was previously occupied by Debbie’s Restaurant, which closed in 2010. But the plan requires a parking variance from the zoning board of appeals which must be approved before the zoning commission could act on the special permit application.

The ZBA has a public hearing Tuesday on an appeal by JMB Properties LLC of Cheshire, owner of 31-33 Main St, for a variance of the parking requirements of zoning regulations to allow 35 off-street parking spaces where 45 spaces are required for all existing or proposed uses on the property.

Quality Care Drug/ Centerbrook LLC is owned by Greg McKenna, a Berlin resident who owns other small, non-chain, pharmacies around the state. The 31-33 Main St. building was the home for decades of Doane’s Pharmacy, an independent, locally-owned pharmacy that closed more than six years ago. In subsequent years, the space that had been the pharmacy was occupied by an expanded Centerbrook Package Store, leaving only the former restaurant space remaining vacant in the commercial building. The only other pharmacy in town is the Rite-Aid located at the Bokum Corners Shopping Plaza.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Budrow said this week the zoning commission can not act on the pharmacy application without ZBA approval of the parking variance for the overall property. Budrow said the commission is expected to continue any public hearing on the proposed pharmacy that is opened Monday to it’s October 21 meeting, after any action on the variance by the ZBA at the Sept. 17 meeting.