OLD SAYBROOK – Plans for a Whole Foods on Boston Post Road are moving forward despite the developers withdrawing an application for a wetlands permit last week, a town official confirmed.
Town Planner Chris Costa said she met with the developer, Rhode Island-based Carpionato Group’s attorney on Monday to discuss setting up a preliminary meeting with the town’s Architectural Review Board to talk about the project – which involved building a 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods and redeveloping the rest of the plaza that now houses NAPA Auto Parts and Alforno Trattoria.
The developers were scheduled to meet with the Inland Wetland Commission on Thursday, but withdrew their application last week to continue work on their plans, said Costa, and because state law sets a 35-day window for public hearings.
The Carpionato Group could not be reached for comment.
If approved by the town, the store would be the first Whole Foods along I-95 between Milford and Providence. The closest existing Whole Foods stores to Old Saybrook are about 40 minutes away in Milford and Glastonbury.
Costa said that when the developer resubmits its application for the plaza at the corner of Boston Post and Spencer Plain roads, it will need approval from Inland Wetlands, the Architectural Review Board, and a special permit from the Zoning Commission. That process will also involve a traffic review, and will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and town engineer.
Parking was the major question for the project when David Taglianetti, vice president of development for Carpionato Group, met with the Zoning Commission last October to discuss the development.
Town regulations require a 25-foot setback between the road and parking lot, which Taglianetti said would not be enough to meet Whole Foods’ strict parking requirements, which demand 240 spaces in the lot.
At the time, the group planned to apply for an exception from the setback requirements, and for approval to expand the plaza by 12,000 square feet to fit a 40,000 square foot Whole Foods. The developers intend to renovate the remaining 25,000 square feet of the plaza into retail, restaurant and a potential medical office space.