Drive-thru deli plan back before Shelton P&Z

Shelton resident David Ghazal is seeking approval for a convenience store and deli with a drive-thru at the former bank site at 5 Huntington St., Shelton.

Shelton resident David Ghazal is seeking approval for a convenience store and deli with a drive-thru at the former bank site at 5 Huntington St., Shelton.

Brian Gioiele / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — A Shelton resident is bringing back plans to transform vacant bank space in Huntington Plaza into a convenience store and deli with a drive-thru.

David Ghazal’s new application to the Planning and Zoning Commission seeks a special exception to allow the drive-thru at 5 Huntington St., which has been vacant for the past few years. The commission will hold a public hearing at a date to be determined.

Concerns about the drive-thru prompted the commission to deny, by a 3-3 vote, Ghazal’s original application last March

Commission Chair Virginia Harger and fellow members Ruth Parkins and Charles Kelly voted against the plan at the time, but all commissioners agreed they welcomed the concept. Harger, Kelly and Parkins denied the proposal because of the proposed drive-thru, which was used previously by the bank, they said.

Ghazal said at the time that he would return with an amended application and answers to the commission’s .

“(The) drive-thru will be utilized in these unprecedented times as a fully functional place where customers can order and pick up at the window,” he stated in his application.

“Pre-paid pickup is also an option, where we will develop a user-friendly mobile application to order through, as well as third-party applications, phone calls, and online ordering,” he wrote. “If a customer decides to order items that will hold up the line, they will be advised to park in the designated parking space while a runner runs out their order to avoid any car queues.”

Plans call for redesign of the 2,619-square-foot interior, with display cases, a deli counter and two tables for indoor dining. The old ATM and canopy out front would be removed and replaced with a window.

Ghazal said his plan would be to use the drive-thru only for pickup of preordered items. He said this would done to “keep the employees and customers safe” during the pandemic.

Those voting against the plan sought more details on how — whether through signs or other means — Ghazal planned to keep people from driving into the drive thru and attempting to order.

“One of the things that attracted me to this location was the drive thru. I want people to feel safe during these times, even making our convenience the best user-friendly by developing a mobile application for ordering,” Ghazal stated in his application. “If a customer decides to order through line, we will dedicate a spot for them to park and have a runner run out their order to avoid any lines.”

After the initial denial, Ghazal told Hearst Connecticut Media that he planned to return with a revised plan.

Having lived in the city for more than two decades, Ghazal said his goal is to “make Shelton a better place, a better community” and hopes his business, if approved, would help do that.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com