Closer rendering front and side 4-19-16

Shake Shack Now Faces Higher Hurdle in Darien, Even as P&Z Approves Application

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Shake Shack’s application to open a restaurant on the Post Road received unanimous approval from the Darien Planning & Zoning Commission Tuesday, but the major hurdle before another crucial town board recently got higher. The P&Z voted unanimously to approve the restaurant’s application to open a restaurant at 1340 Post Road, the former site of Chuck’s Steak House. But a major sticking point with town land-use officials over the restaurant’s application has always been the larger signs that Shake Shack wants — bigger than what town regulations currently allow. The largest proposed sign would be 22 inches high; town regulations now set the maximum at 10 inches. That argument is before the Zoning Board of Appeals, which recently hired a consultant to do a “peer review” on the signage proposed in Shake Shack’s most recent application.

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More Details on Darien Shake Shack Proposal Come in Formal Filing with P&Z

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With a formal land-use application to locate a Shake Shack restaurant at the former site of Chuck’s Steakhouse at 1340 Post Road, more details about the proposal have now come out. Owners of the chain and of the property have said they hope to get the restaurant up and running by late summer or early fall. The application was filed by Baywater 1340 BPR, LLC, an affiliate of Baywater Properties LLC, an owner of a number of downtown commercial properties and headed by David Genovese. According to the formal application, the restaurant would have:

Indoor seating for 76 diners at 19 tables in a 1,228-square-foot area (but “the number of seats, tables and booths may change over time”)
Another 582 square feet for customers to line up (and also including a corridor, vestibule and restrooms)
Total “customer space” of 1,810 square feet in a one-story building that has 3,100 square feet
An 800-square-foot patio for outdoor seating for 44 at about eight tables
Hours open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week
About 12 employees (on average) on-site together (meaning the total number of employees would be higher), with some there as early as several hours before the restaurant opens
Kitchen space of 393 square feet, another 370 square feet for “active storage,” a 64-square-foot office and 103 square feet for “mechanical” space and “dead storage.” An already existing “densely vegetated area about 50 feet thick” in the back of the property, along Old Kings Highway South, remaining.

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Shake Shack Coming to Town, But They Want to Bring Their Big Signs with Them

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Shake Shack, a popular, upscale fast-food-like restaurant, has signed a lease for the former Chuck’s Steak House site on the Post Road and wants to open for business by late summer or early fall 2016. It also wants a “Shake Shack” sign two feet high in the front of the building, although current zoning regulations allow for businesses to have 10-inch-high signs. Some other retail businesses in town have larger signs than the regulations allow, usually granted through variances to the rules, including nearby H&L Chevrolet and Nielsen’s Florists. A representative from Shake Shack, along with David Genovese, principal at Baywater Properties, which owns the 1340 Post Road site (as well as much of the land and buildings downtown), gave an informal description of their proposed project to build the restaurant to the Planning & Zoning Commission on Tuesday. The store would have about 3,100 square feet of interior floor space in a building on the front corner of the three-quarter-acre lot, closest to nearby Interstate 95.


Letters: McIlmurray Says Sini Should Have Recused; Sini Responds

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Spencer McIlmurray, an unaffiliated candidate for a seat on the Board of Selectmen running against both Democrats and Republicans, sent in this letter to the editor regarding Planning & Zoning Commission member John Sini’s decision not to recuse himself on matters concerning town-owned athletic fields. In response, Sini sent in the statement published below the letter. Paul Michalski, who lives near the high school fields, fought proposals concerning them before the P&Z Commission and asked Sini to recuse himself. Sini, long a proponent of more lighting at the fields before he got on the commission, refused. Michalski sued the town over decisions to make improvements (particularly to improve the turf) in the fields and lost.