On Tuesday night Greenwich’s Planning & Zoning Commission entertained an application from Young Pioneers LLC, owners of the building at 59 East Putnam Ave that replaced the former Corbo’s Deli in Cos Cob.
Initially the owner Eugene Chun opened a deli called Wellmade Market.
Now Mr. Chun wants to expand seating and change the use from Retail Food Establishment to Restaurant with 26 seats.
The existing outdoor seating is a remnant from the prior deli approval.
The business model for the deli didn’t work, so Mr. Chun opened Sanda’s Dry Cleaners instead.
Attorney Chip Haslun said Mr. Chun now seeks to open Sushi Soba, which already operates a location at 1345 East Putnam Ave in Old Greenwich.
Predictably, conversation focused on parking.
The commission recalled how in 2015, under the leadership of their previous chair, Richard Maitland, there were numerous hearings and much concern about lack of parking given there is no place for overflow.
At the time the commission suggested making the parking work by mixing uses in the building to include both retail and restaurant.
Mr. Chun’s Young Pioneers LLC repaved and re-striped the parking lot, and it is now easier to navigate because the entrance and exit are more clearly designated.
Today there are 14 parking spaces assigned to the adjacent building with flower shop and Tomatillo, and 20 spaces assigned to 59 East Putnam.
Attorney Chip Haslun reminded the commission they had previously approved 16 seats indoors and 10 outdoors, for a total of 26 seats and deemed the parking sufficient.
“It would be helpful to know more about the outdoor dining space. We don’t want to drive by every day to see if seats were out there without approval,” commissioner Fox said. “It would be helpful to us if you would reduce that outdoor patio area.”
“If you’re considering outdoor seating, you could close down 10 seats indoors and move them outdoors,” Ms Alban said.
“I’m thinking that all the outdoor dining service would have to be take out,” assistant town planner Mr. LaRow said.
“That’s was what it was supposed to be originally. A deli,” Ms Alban said.
In a discussion about landscaping, Ms Alban said, “The First Selectman would like to see, and we would like to see – and we have a task force for planting on the Post Road and it’s in the POCD – if you’re not going to use 10 seats outdoors that you do some plantings outdoors.”
Mr. Fox said the First Selectman is working to get the park across the street on East Putnam Ave cleaned up and mowed.
“We want just a couple trees and some landscaping,” Ms Alban said.
“There are three trees there, but they’re not as robust as shown on the plan,” Mr. LaRow said.
Mr. Haslun said his client was concerned about trees becoming large and blocking the view of the entrance.
“Here’s the trade off,” Ms Alban said. “When the trees get tall, you’ll see the façade perfectly and they’ll be beautiful shade trees on the patio. It’ll make it an incredibly appealing place to go and sit.”
Ms Alban praised the applicant for the look of the building, but noted concerns about parking remained.
“It’s a tight area,” she said. “But they’ve done a beautiful job with the building.”
The application was left open.