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Stonington approves pastry, coffee shop for vacant Pawcatuck building

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Stonington — The Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a zoning permit for a pastry and coffee shop planned for a vacant building on Route 1 in Pawcatuck.

The building, at 148 South Broad St. across from Brookside Village, previously housed a Penny's, Bess Eaton and Tim Hortons doughnut shops, the Levant coffee shop, and a home spa company.

The pastry shop will be located within a few hundred yards of three new apartment complexes and across the street from one being planned for Brookside Village, all of which did not exist when the former doughnut shops occupied the site. 

The commission voted Tuesday night to approve the application by GBD Realty LLC of Taunton, Mass., to open a 30-seat restaurant with a drive-thru window.

Attorney Ted Ladwig, who was representing GBD and its owner, Bruce Thomas, explained that GBD never abandoned the use of the building's drive-thru window after commission member Fred Deichmann expressed concerns about its use after the closure of the other businesses. Deichmann voted against the permit.

The building has a large parking lot and Ladwig said it has space for 14 cars in the drive-thru lane. Commission members also said they wanted to see a "no left turn" sign for drivers leaving the shop because westbound cars on Route 1 crest a hill just before the shop and cannot see exiting cars.

The application even got a boost from state Rep. Greg Howard, R-Stonington, who sent a letter to the commission urging approval. He called GBD and Thomas "good corporate citizens" who support local youth sports organizations and said the shop would provide a service for nearby residents.

Pawcatuck Little League President Adam Linicus echoed Howard's comments in his own letter to the commission, saying that this year alone Thomas made a substantial donation to the league that will allow it to supply each of its more than 350 players with masks to protect them from COVID-19.

"Mr. Thomas has been, and I am sure will continue to be, a pillar in the community. His kindness and support have allowed hundreds of local Stonington children to learn to be athletes, good teammates and upright citizens. We appreciate all he has done," Linicus wrote.  

Thomas, who purchased the building in 2011, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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