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Developers to hold 'open house,' virtual meeting on Mystic Education Center proposal

Groton — The developer of a proposed mixed-use development at the Mystic Education Center property will hold an “open house” format virtual meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday to update people on the project and answer questions.

Groton Planning and Development Director Jon Reiner said the developer, Respler Homes, plans to give a presentation on the status of the project and will be available to address questions and concerns.

“Participation by all is encouraged,” a notice states. “Respler Homes and their development team will provide an update and answer questions regarding Mystic River Bluffs. All meeting attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of both Respler Homes and team members about any aspect of the approval process and the project as it is currently envisioned.”

People can register at bit.ly/mecopenhouse to receive an email with information about attending the webinar, the notice states.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Respler Homes was meeting with people one-on-one and in small groups, said Ray Kehrhahn, who leads the development team with Jeff Respler. When the developers had to stop in-person meetings due to the pandemic, they held phone conversations and received some questions via their website. They decided to hold Wednesday’s discussion to provide a way for neighbors and the community to engage with them, express their concerns and ask questions, and develop an understanding of the proposal.

Wednesday’s meeting will be the first in a series to provide updates to people once or twice a month, Kehrhahn said.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Respler Homes plans to update people on the project and changes to the proposal. The developers envision building one- and two-bedroom apartments on the Mystic Education Center property, as well as building two- and three-bedroom townhouses on an additional 16-acre parcel they recently purchased, Kehrhahn said. The former Mystic Oral School building would be used for commercial space.

Respler Homes is envisioning about 931 residential units for the proposed development, according to a presentation at a recent Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.

The commission is working on a draft zoning regulation for a “Mystic Education Center” zone, which is the first of many steps required for the development of the property, Reiner said. Once the commission completes the draft, a public hearing will be held.

If the commission adopts the new zoning regulation, Respler Homes then can go through the approval process to formally have the new zoning apply to its site. Reiner said a zoning map amendment would be required concurrently with a master plan application, and both would require public hearings. 

Then Inland Wetland Agency approval also will be needed, and a site plan will be required for each phase of the project, he said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is slated to meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday via Zoom to work on the draft zoning regulation and discuss public inquiries about the project, as well as the process for the project, Reiner said.

k.drelich@theday.com

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