Rezoning approved, then scrapped
Downtown building remains for sale
By Scott Bellile
A commercial building in downtown New London was going to be rezoned to a residential property, but that is no longer the case.
At the Aug. 24 meeting of the New London Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator Paul Hanlon told the commission that Debra Hurst, owner of 117 E. South Water St., wants to sell her building. A potential buyer offered to convert it into a duplex but only could if the building were rezoned.
The commission voted 5-0 to begin the process of rezoning from a B-1 Central Business District property to an R-2 One and Two Family Residential. Commissioners Gary Henke and Steve Thompson were absent.
The commission added a condition that upon rezoning the building to R-2, it could not be changed back to a B-1, meaning it would forever stay a residence.
From there, the proposed zoning amendment was set to appear before the New London City Council for readings, public hearing and final approval.
However, in the planning commission meeting minutes submitted to the city council prior to its Tuesday, Sept. 12 meeting, an update on developments since the Aug. 24 planning commission meeting was added: “Prior to writing the minutes the owner advised she was no longer interested in the zoning change. No further action was taken.”
As of press time Tuesday, Sept. 12, 117 E. South Water St. remains vacant and for sale.
The structure is located near Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, the post office and three residential properties. Commissioners at the August meeting agreed that changing the zoning to residential would be OK because the structure borders residential properties.
The building served as the birthplace of Familiar Grounds Coffee Shop in 1997 before the shop moved to its present location on North Pearl Street a few years later. Since then, the building has been home to the cafe Between Sisters, Together Wedding Photography & Video, and, most recently, New London Tax Service.