Kelley statue backers get P&Z approval for Mystic River Park
Stonington - Despite opposition by member Ben Tamsky, who said it violates zoning regulations, the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday night to allow the placement of a life-size bronze statue of late Boston Marathon champion John Kelley in Mystic River Park.
The commission had to decide whether the statue, which would be located at the corner of Cottrell and Washington streets, could be placed within required building setbacks. While regulations allow items such as flagpoles, signs, tennis courts, ornamental wells and gravestones in the setbacks, there is no mention of statues.
Tamsky said that while he did not oppose the idea of a statue, his responsibility was to uphold the regulations, which do not make an exemption for a statue. He said a statue would be considered a structure and could not be located in a setback.
Commission member Frances Hoffman said the statue is more like a flagpole or gravestone than a building, while commissioner Bob Mercer said it's not possible to list every possible exemption in the regulations.
The John Kelley Memorial Fund, which has raised about one-third of the estimated $90,000 cost of the statue, will now apply for a zoning permit from the town and work with zoning officials to make sure the statue does not block the sightlines of motorists. Spyros Barres, the fund's treasurer, said it would not.
Fund officials are trying to obtain approval from the Mystic River Park Commission to put the statue in the park. That decision is expected next month.
Kelley, the 1957 Boston Marathon champion, two-time Olympian and former Fitch High School English teacher and coach, died in August 2011.
In other action, the commission unanimously approved a zoning permit for owner Stephen Vacca and his nephew James Lathrop to renovate the long vacant building at 2-4 Mechanic St. in Pawcatuck and use it as an office and retail outlet for Phoenix Oil, Lathrop's oil, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning business on Taugwonk Spur Road.
Stories that may interest you
The following local students have made the dean’s/president’s list at their respective schools.
The official end of the Christmas season was noted in Preston on Jan. 6 when parishioners from Saint James Episcopal Church and sister church Grace Episcopal in Yantic, gathered on the Saint James grounds for a ceremonial bonfire to honor the Epiphany.
Preschoolers were trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue Wednesday at the Stonington Community Center, known as the COMO.
Sites are opening Thursday in New London and Old Saybrook and next Wednesday at Mitchell College in New London.