Don't destroy what makes Mystic wonderful
As residents of Mystic we oppose the NDD floating zone application by the developers of Smiler’s Wharf. Mystic has hit a saturation point with infrastructure inadequacy, especially in traffic and parking. We are fed up with the continued destruction of the historic character of our village.
We might take a page from the logic of the historic town of Newburyport, Massachusetts that seeks to protect its character while promoting appropriate growth. It states that the town should prohibit development if there is not adequate public infrastructure to serve the new development, a requirement called “concurrency.” For a development to be "concurrent” the local government must ensure enough infrastructure capacity to serve each proposed development and must be reviewed to determine if there is both current and reserve capacity in a “concurrency review.” If there were to be a concurrency review in the case of the Smiler’s Wharf project, it would fail miserably.
If the zoning change is approved, the resulting infrastructure inadequacies throughout Mystic will negatively affect the quality of life for residents and make the area less appealing for visitors. In addition, the design of Smiler’s Wharf, which does not enhance the abutting National Register District, will overwhelm the village atmosphere and negate a feeling of neighborhood within our town. It will, in effect, kill the very thing that draws tourists to the area to begin with.
The Stonington PZC should say no to off-site parking, intolerable traffic congestion and protect the historic neighborhood and sensitive wetland areas adjacent to the project. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection opposes the zone change for good reasons. Despite their assertions, the developers do not have this “taken care of.”
Ultimately, will Mystic continue to be a village community that welcomes visitors or a vehicle for profit that puts our community at risk of destruction for short-term gain? If the latter, all will lose in the long run.
Mary Hendrickson and Ted Hendrickson live in Mystic.