Ridgefield P&Z approve renovations for Deborah Ann's new home

RIDGEFIELD — The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved an application for exterior renovations at 409 Main St. Tuesday night.

Stamford-based architect Jeffrey Mose, the applicant, presented a digital animation of what the work will look like. It includes creating an outdoor eating area in front of the building and renovating the existing sunken patio out back.

“I think it’s a remarkable improvement,” said Commissioner John Katz.

“I agree,” said Commissioner Joseph Fossi. “It’s beautiful.”

The renovated first floor and lower level will become the new home of Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe, which plans to relocate to 409 Main St. sometime next year. Deborah Ann’s purchased the building in July for $1.2 million, records show.

The structure was built in 1880 and served as the former parsonage for Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. It was home to many businesses over the years, including Dr. Mike’s, another ice cream shop, and Mr. Shane’s Homemade Parlour Ice Cream.

“(It) needs a lot of sprucing up,” according to a Facebook post by Deborah Ann’s. “We look forward to working with our architects and builders to … make it accessible for all. … We love Ridgefield and Main Street and are so excited to bring new life to this wonderful building.”

The exterior renovations will make the property compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act with the inclusion of ramps in the front and rear of the building.

“The whole building is getting retrofitted,” Mose added, noting new bathrooms and interior work related to AMA accessibility.

Mose met with the town’s Village District Commission several times in regards to the project, which ultimately shaped his final plans.

“We want to certainly maintain the streetscape of Main Street,” he said, “(and) I think our proposal gives them the space they want.”

An existing six-sided kiosk in front of the building will be moved about 20 feet to the left of its current spot. Mose said the public will still be welcomed to use it to post public service announcements.

“I know the town has kind of embraced it a bit,” he said. “They recognize the importance of it and ... that it’s part of the story ... of Main Street.”

Other exterior additions include new bike racks out back and an exterior generator on site, which will keep the ice cream supply from melting in the event of a power outage.

“It’s a beautiful renovation of an important building,” Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti said. “We really appreciate all the effort.”