Elms Hotel in Niantic could become a 3-lot subdivision

East Lyme - An application for a variance to turn The Elms Hotel property into a three-lot residential subdivision will come before the Crescent Beach Association's Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday.

The building, which is more than a century old, stands across from Crescent Beach on the corner of Ocean and Bayview avenues.

The Elms' owner, Jude Cleary of Niantic, and Robert Barbaro of Barbaro Property Management in Wallingford, a potential buyer, are appealing for a variance of the association's zoning laws. Crescent Beach Zoning Enforcement Officer Stephen Rebelowski originally denied a subdivision plan for The Elms property in February, stating that the application would need to go before the association's ZBA to address several issues.

For one, the current property only supports two lots, since the association's zoning laws stipulate that each lot size must be at least 7,500 feet, according to a letter from Rebelowski to the applicants. One lot under the proposed subdivision also does not meet the space requirements for a setback.

As a hotel in a residential neighborhood, The Elms is considered a "non-conforming use" under the association's laws. Those requirements stipulate that a variance is necessary for "any increase in an existing nonconforming condition or new non-conforming condition," the letter states.

A statement of hardship in the application provides reasons for the subdivision request. The document states that the hotel is "in a state of disrepair," that the three-lot subdivision would restore the property to the residential use typical of the neighborhood and that three lots would make the best use of the layout and elevation of the land at 25-27 Ocean Ave.

It further argues that the plan would alleviate parking issues in the neighborhood, since most of the hotel's parking is down the street from the hotel but guests often park on Bayview Avenue.

"From a health and safety perspective, the result of the proposed plan and use will eliminate the numerous guests from the hotel passing across the street to the beach and eliminate the countless police calls necessary to deal with cars improperly parked along Bayview Avenue," the statement reads.

Cleary and Barbaro could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

If the association's ZBA approves the variance, the applicants would still need to seek the other permits and approvals for the homes that would be built there.

k.drelich@theday.com

IF YOU GO

Who: Crescent Beach Association's Zoning Board of Appeals

What: Application to convert The Elms property into a three-lot subdivision

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: East Lyme Police Department, Main Street, Niantic

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