East Lyme zoning commission taking another look at affordable housing plan

East Lyme - The Zoning Commission will hold an additional public hearing on an application for an affordable housing development near the Rocky Neck Connector that it denied last year, following a court decision in an appeals case.

The Zoning Commission met in executive session Thursday evening to discuss litigation from JAG Capital Drive, the development company.

The commission did not schedule a date for the public hearing Thursday.

Last year, the commission denied two applications from a development company to build "Rocky Neck Village," a residential development in a light industrial zone by Capital Drive and West Main Street. The first application had called for 69 units in the area by Capital Drive and West Main Street, while the second application lowered the number of units to 60 and built in additional buffer zones.

After the commission denied the applications, JAG Capital Drive, a limited liability company in Mystic, appealed the decision in state court.

As part of the case, Hartford Superior Court Judge Harry S. Cohn has remanded the appeal to the commission for another hearing.

Specifically, the judge is seeking more information about "the day to day operation" of Bride Brook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on 23 Liberty Way and whether or not the center qualifies as a residential facility, according to a court document.

Citing case law, the court stipulates that "an appropriate dividing line between those living facilities that are deemed as 'residential' and those that are not would be the nature and frequency of medical and nursing services provided there," the document states.

At the time the Zoning Commission denied the second affordable housing application, the commission had referenced an exemption under state law for housing applications in industrial zones in which residential uses are not allowed.

The commission had also argued that public interest and safety concerns from the light industrial area outweighed the need for affordable housing.

k.drelich@theday.com
Twitter: @KimberlyDrelich

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