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    Friday, April 19, 2024

    Groton City P&Z rescinds zoning proposal with plans to revise it

    Groton ― The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission this week rescinded its proposal to change the zoning for Bridge Street, upper Thames Street and part of North Street and plans to revamp it.

    The commission decided to address issues raised by residents over a series of public hearings on the proposal for a commercial and residential zone that would allow higher density housing in an area where two housing units can be built per parcel.

    The proposed zone would have allowed up to four-story multifamily or mixed-use developments if the developer received site plan approval. Up to six-story and 75-foot tall buildings would be allowed if the developer received a special permit.

    Many concerns were about the allowable height of buildings, especially if they were adjacent to existing residential neighborhoods, said Chair Paul Kunkemoeller in reviewing the concerns the commission heard. He said the greatest concerns were east of Thames Street, south of Bridge Street and west of North Street.

    He said he also heard concerns that the proposed zoning did not address how to transition from single-family homes to mid-density buildings. Residents also expressed concern about any formal response as to whether there is enough utility, police and fire capacity to support the changes.

    People raised concerns about the lack of building and design appearance standards and traffic concerns.

    Kunkemoeller said there seems to be less concern about building heights north of Bridge Street and general consensus that the older roller rink property on Bridge Street would be a good place to develop a larger building.

    The commission also plans to include more drawings and graphics in the revised proposal, so people can visualize the proposed changes, though there also were discussions about costs and limitations with a small planning department in the city.

    The workshop is slated for 7 p.m. March 6.

    The process for any new proposal would include a future public hearing.

    In public comments at Wednesday’s meeting, resident April Thompson, in a letter read aloud, said that as someone who lives in the neighborhood, it would be welcome to see Thames Street thrive. But given the opportunity for six-story buildings, it would not be the way to go.

    “It is not at all the character of the neighborhood,” said Thompson, adding that this historic part of the city has beautiful houses that have been there since the 1700s to 1800s.

    Resident Stephen Nye said in a letter that he was opposed to allowing high-density housing to be more than four stories high as this kind of high-density housing creates adverse effect on the quality of life in an already densely populated area but also benefits only the developer.

    “There are plenty of empty, unused buildings that can be converted into suitable housing,” Nye said.

    While the proposal has mostly received opposition from residents, some including Jose Vega, supported it.

    Vega called the change “long overdue and necessary for the revitalization of our city.” Vega said the city and community have been struggling with a lack of redevelopment and progress.


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