Hendel's files appeal over PZC approval of its proposed $1.8 million building in Mystic

An architectural rendering shows the proposed mixed use building at the top and the existing commercial building at the bottom.
An architectural rendering shows the proposed mixed use building at the top and the existing commercial building at the bottom.

Mystic — Hendel’s Mystic LLC has now filed appeals over the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to not approve and then approve its plans for a $1.8 million mixed-use building across from the Mystic train station.

The town received notification of the latest appeal on Wednesday. It charged that the commission’s Jan. 16 decision to approve Hendel’s plan after reducing the commercial/residential building from four to three stories in height, violated state law because the commission already had denied the application at its Dec. 5, 2017, meeting. That decision had prompted Hendel’s to file its first appeal in New London Superior Court.

Hendel’s attorneys Mark Branse and Alan Curto wrote in their latest appeal that the commission went ahead with the Jan. 16 vote, even after Branse and Curto had sent a letter to the commission saying state law was clear that the commission's 3-1 December vote against a motion to approve the project was the commission’s final action on the application and that no other action could be taken to change it. But they said the commission proceeded to vote on the application Jan. 16, approving it by a 5-1 vote after attaching stipulations including lowering the height.

Hendel’s attorneys maintain in the latest appeal that the application met all zoning requirements and the commission’s January approval was not supported by the evidence before the commission.

Stonington planning officials have said the commission’s December vote was not a denial of the application. Stonington Director of Planning Jason Vincent had maintained the commission had not made a decision and then prepared a motion for denial with reasons for the action for the commission to vote on at its January meeting. The reasons for the board’s action are important in an appeal. After an executive session at the January meeting to discuss the first appeal, the commission voted instead to approve the application with stipulations.

Commission members had 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.

The one-acre lot is adjacent to the Hendel’s-owned Henny Penny at 3 Roosevelt Ave., across the street from the train station.

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