Olde Mistick Village seeks zoning changes to reinvigorate Golden Triangle

The owners of Olde Mistick Village are seeking to change the zoning regulations in the tourist commercial zone around Exit 90 to allow for increased lot density and buildings as much as 65 feet tall.

Bill Sweeney, the attorney for Martin Olson Revocable Trust, said Thursday that the owners are committed to preserving the character of the popular outdoor shopping center, which consists of buildings that are one to two stories tall, but that there are other sections of the site that could be developed.

He said the shopping center is working with a couple developers who are interested in improvements and renovations to the site. He said if the change is approved he hopes to be able to discuss the potential plans later this year.

He stressed the change would not only spur interest in the outdoor shopping mall but in the other commercial properties in the so-called Golden Triangle bordered by Coogan Boulevard, Route 27 and Jerry Browne Road, where he said properties are underutilized, deteriorating or in need of significant reinvestment.

“The Golden Triangle has become a bit tarnished and could use some reinvestment,” he said.

He added that increasing the floor area ratio from 0.30 to 0.75 and increasing the height limit to 50 feet with an increase to 65 feet for architectural features would help attract investment.

Sweeney called the existing TC-80 zone the town’s premier commercial zone but said it has only a limited amount of land and currently does not allow enough density and height to accommodate many uses.

He added that loosening the height and density restrictions would not only allow for more development in the designated tourist zone but in turn would help preserve the town’s open space and more rural areas.

Sweeney also pointed out that the Stonington Economic Development Commission has recommended the two changes and that the 50-foot height is the same as the commission approved for the new zone for the nearby Perkins Farm property, where a medical, research, commercial and residential project is planned.

“The floor area ratio will permit an increased density of development in an area of town suitable to support additional commercial growth,” the application states.

It added the infrastructure already is in place to support the additional development.

In an email to the commission, Water Pollution Control Authority Executive Director Douglas Nettleton told the zoning commission that there are limitations in the sewage collection system around the village and any new development will be carefully reviewed to ensure the additional wastewater discharge can be handled.

Over the past few years the village has been renovating a number of its buildings and bringing in new businesses.

The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the requested change for 7:30 p.m. May 2 at Mystic Middle School.

By Joe Wojtas, The Day staff writer

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