Hearing Tuesday on zone change for Mystic River Boathouse Park site

Mystic -- The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday night on an application by the town to rezone the Mystic River Boathouse Park site and give it more flexibility in designing the boathouse planned for the Route 27 property. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Mystic Middle School.

The application calls for rezoning the 1.5-acre parcel from residential development on 10,000-square-foot lots to Maritime Heritage District. The town created the MHD in 2005 “to provide Mystic Seaport with a zoning district that legitimizes its existence, provides flexibility for long term planning, meets the needs of residential neighbors and enhances public input,” according to a staff report by Town Planner Keith Brynes.

The new zone would require the commission to hold public hearings and approve applications for both a master plan and site plan.

In 2016 taxpayers approved $2.2 million in bonding to create the public park while private group of rowing supporters is raising money to construct the $2.5 million boathouse, which will be home to the Stonington High School crew team and the Stonington Community Rowing Center.

Several issues have slowed the creation of the park including residents criticizing the boathouse design as too modern. The RH-10 zone restricts the height of the boathouse, as well as where it can be located. Because the boathouse is a functional structure that calls for rowing shells on the first floor and training space on the second, there was no height left for a more traditional pitched roof in the original design. The change would give the town a larger footprint to work with, as well as allow for a taller building.



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