PZC to hold hearing on condo plan for former Mystic Color Lab site

Mystic - The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing tonight on a proposal to modify a plan, already approved, that would convert the former Mystic Color Lab site into 55 luxury condominiums. The hearing is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Mystic Middle School.

Edgewood Mac, LLC of Southport is seeking a master plan zone change and site plan approval to construct four buildings around an interior courtyard with a swimming pool and cabana.

The firm had submitted a similar application in September 2013 but withdrew it before the close of a public hearing earlier this year, saying it wanted to prepare better three-dimensional models and compare the plan to the one approved in 2005 and modified in 2008.

In his staff report for the commission, Town Planner Keith Brynes wrote that many of the key elements of the approved 2005 plan remain unchanged in the new application, which he said "reflects the new owners' attempts to create a better and more marketable development."

Despite a sign by an adjacent homeowner referring to a proposal for "Towering condos coming," the buildings in the new proposal are 49 feet tall, 1 foot lower than the already approved plan. The gross floor area would also be reduced from 177,373 square feet to 162,482 square feet.

"Changes to the architecture give a more residential appearance to the buildings," Brynes wrote.

Although the original plan called for incorporating the mill's western wall and tower, the only parts not yet torn down, Brynes said those structures "have become structurally unfeasible to remain" and are proposed for demolition.

At the commission's request, Edgewood Mac floated balloons on July 30 and 31 to show the height of the buildings. Brynes said the company that floated the balloons has since said it erroneously flew them up to 18 feet too high until 3 p.m. on July 30.

The so-called Lighthouse Landing project would be accessed from Harry Austin Drive, the road that leads from Masons Island Road to the Ocean Community YMCA.

After receiving approvals for the original project in 2005, the previous owners of the property tore down much of the building and began an environmental cleanup and site work before the project ceased because of financial problems. Edgewood Mac acquired the mortgage to the 5.5-acre site in 2009.

The project application states that a financial analysis has found the project would generate $340,676 in annual taxes for the town and $162,130 in one-time fees. After subtracting municipal and school costs, the project is estimated to generate a net financial gain of $208,215 a year for the town.

j.wojtas@theday.com

@joewojtas

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