STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s one of the largest public hearings the town of Stonington has had in decades. Hundreds packed the high school auditorium to hear what developers had to say and then give them feedback.
News 8’s Bob Wilson was at the hearing to learn more about the proposed Smiler’s Riverfront development. There will be 47 apartments and town homes, a 45-room boutique hotel, a public plaza, a marine services building for boaters, a public kayak pavilion, all connected by walkways to the downtown.
Veronica Lavista of Mystic wanted to hear about it, and see the plans firsthand:
“Anyone can make something look good in a model, what is the reality of that development? What is it impact on many levels, economic environmental.”
Charlie Wenderoth is also a Mystic resident and worries it’s too much too fast:
“I think it is way too big for downtown Mystic, and I just see it as ultimately changing the whole fabric of the downtown area. “
But the developer, Harry Boardsen, says they have a quaint Mystic in mind as they are bringing a scaled down version of what could be built there to life.
“The characteristic of the town is what we had in mind the way that we laid this thing out, we want to keep it small and we want to set it in so that it is a project that seems like it has always been there. “
Many people are concerned about the already clogged streets and lack of parking in downtown Mystic, but the developer will be adding 300 parking spaces, many subterranean and opening up thousand plus feet of walkway which could alleviate some of the traffic.
As Boardsen says Mystic will be more walkable:
“We feel that we really stuck a balance with parking and traffic and uses really magnified and it will really magnify what mystic is. “
Mat Beaudoin is 13th generation, born and raised in Mystic. He owns Mystic knotwork‘s across from the development site and says the family developing the land is also generational and he trusts them.
“You know I am very cautious and very careful about what’s going on in the town while at the same time I am a business owner who’s bread-and-butter is on the tourism economy, so I can see value there also.”
But he is also a little concerned as he is right across the street from it, and wants to know more.
“And they are going to give the better part of an acre or so to a green space area so that will be neat. There will be a place for farmers market and that sorts of things and I am cautious, I’m not a fan, but I’m not opposed, I’m learning. “
Even if they get approval from Planning and Zoning, the developer says there are still some other hurdles they have to clear with DEEP, so it will be a while before you see a shovel in the ground.
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