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Mexican restaurant plan to be heard in Stonington

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: The Day

Published December 16. 2013 4:00AM
Mexican grill wants to open near the police station

Stonington -The Planning and Zoning Commission is slated to hold a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposal to open a Mexicali Fresh Mex Grill in the small shopping center next to the police station on Route 1.

The national chain would fill a vacant storefront that has been home to a string of unsuccessful restaurants for more than a decade.

According to the special use permit application by D'Amato Investment LLC, the owners of the shopping plaza, plans call for a full service, 112-seat restaurant and bar with a full liquor permit. The restaurant would be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. There are Mexicali Fresh Mex Grills in Holden, Spencer and Ware, Mass., and one is planned for Dayville, according to the company's website.

The project meets parking requirements but D'Amato is seeking waivers of 14 required reports and studies. The commission's meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Mystic Middle School

Meanwhile, the commission is expected to continue Tuesday's public hearing on an application by Mystic Aquarium to construct a West Marine on its overflow parking lot at the corner of Coogan Boulevard and Maritime Drive in Mystic. That hearing is expected to be opened and then continued to Jan. 21, 2014, at the request of Sea Research Foundation, the aquarium's parent organization and Waterstone retail, the developer, according to the agenda for the meeting. Plan for the boating supply store call for developing 1.7 acres of the 11.1-acre site for construction of the 13,000-square-foot building, a 53-car parking lot, and wall signage.

The hearing will now coincide with an application by the aquarium to create a gravel parking lot on an adjacent site to make up for the parking that would be lost when the West Marine store is built on the current overflow lot. The lot is used on days when aquarium attendance is high.

At the commission's Dec. 3 meeting, commission member John Prue said he was concerned with considering the West Marine project before receiving the application for construction of the new parking lot, according to the draft minutes of the meeting.

The commission then agreed to not make a decision on the West Marine application before making one on the parking lot.

The next few meetings are shaping up to be busy ones for the commission as on Jan. 7, 2014, is it slated to hold a hearing on plans to develop the long vacant Mystic Color Lab property off Mason's Island Road into 55 luxury condominiums.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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