Stonington PZC approves shorter mixed use building for downtown Mystic

Mystic — Six weeks after it voted not to approve an application by Hendel’s Mystic LLC to construct a four-story residential and retail building on a vacant lot near the Mystic train station, the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night voted 4-1 to approve a building with one less story.

Following a Dec. 5, 2017, public hearing, the commission made a motion to approve the special use permit but then opposed the motion by a 3-1 vote.

Hendel attorney Mark Branse had said he considered the commission’s vote on Dec. 5 as a denial of the application and he proceeded to appeal the decision to Superior Court.

But Stonington planning officials said the commission’s vote was not a denial of the application. Stonington Director of Planning Jason Vincent had maintained the commission had not made a decision and prepared a motion for denial with reasons for the action for the commission to vote on Tuesday. The reasons for the board’s action are important in an appeal but the commission did not act on the reasons for denial.

Before its vote Tuesday, the commission held an executive session to discuss Hendel’s court appeal. After the session, the commission voted 4-1, with Gardner Young opposed, to approve the application for a special use permit with several stipulations. These included limiting the height to three stories or 37 feet, 8 inches, restricting motor vehicle access between Roosevelt Avenue and Washington Street and requiring an illustration for commission review that depicts the building in the context of the neighborhood. The one-acre lot is adjacent to the Hendel’s-owned Henny Penny at 3 Roosevelt Ave., across the street from the train station.

During a public hearing and the commission’s December deliberations, members expressed concerns about access, the building’s impact on the neighborhood, the application’s lack of a three-dimensional model and the building’s height, even though it conforms to zoning regulations.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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