OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH)– A lot of people are expected to log onto Monday night’s zoom public hearing for an outdoor only restaurant proposed for Saybrook Point.
Bringing an outdoor only restaurant to Saybrook Point is going to take two approvals by the zoning commission and approval at town meeting.
The proposal at the former site of the popular Dock & Dine restaurant which was destroyed by two storms has cooked up at lot of interest.
“I’m interested in attending the zoom meeting about it to find out more details,” said Old Saybrook resident Henriettta Mountz.
Property owner Jon Kodama has teamed up with Chef Colt Taylor who owns the Essex Public Market & Food Hall to try to bring 300 seat outdoor dining to the point.
“I love the idea,” said Old Saybrook resident Laura Gray.
Gray lives in the nearby North Cove neighborhood where some of her neighbors have expressed concerns about smoke, noise, trash, and traffic.
“Using this area for Smoke on the Water as an outdoor eating area would benefit more people than it would inconvenience a few,” said Gray.
She is also the administrator for the Old Saybrook History facebook page and says Saybrook Point which was once a Native American village would later become a hub for water and train transportation.
“And then we had the automobile so this became a fantastic gathering place where there might be as many as a thousand people on a weekend,” said Gray.
Even though Dock & Dine hasn’t been here since 2012 Kodama continues to pay about $27,000 in taxes for the property that no longer generates any revenue.
He says the plans for the new restaurant would include public access to the water which would be a walkway all along the waterfront and that didn’t exist with Dock & Dine.
“I’m hoping that a compromise can be reached so that people would have another place to eat but at the same time it wouldn’t spoil the feeling of the area by having it overcrowded,” said Mountz.
“It would be a job creator. It would be good for the economy,” said Gray.
The town planner has gotten so many letters and emails about the proposal she says she has yet to tally them all.
Information on tonight’s 7 p.m. public hearing can be found here.