Stonington zoning board OKs medical office building for Maple Breeze Park
Stonington — The Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night approved a plan to construct a two-story medical office building on the former Maple Breeze Park site on Liberty Street.
After a brief public hearing, the commission approved a special use permit, subdivision approval and a groundwater protection permit being sought by READCO, the Old Lyme firm that developed the Stop & Shop complex in Pawcatuck.
The project calls for a 25,206-square-foot building on the 7.8-acre parcel across from the intersection with White Rock Road. The building would contain traditional medical offices, not hospital or specialty services.
The site would be divided into three lots: one for the medical building, one for future development and one that would create a permanent buffer of trees and vegetation between the Timber Ridge housing development to the rear and the commercial building.
The building was redesigned to be more attractive after the town’s Architectural Design Review Board members criticized the original design as sterile and institutional.
Project attorney Ted Ladwig told the commission the project conforms with zoning regulations and the town’s plan of conservation and development while increasing the tax base and providing medical services for Pawcatuck residents instead of having to drive to North Stonington or Westerly.
Keith Main, the former owner of Maple Breeze, had a question about a retaining wall on the property but said he was in favor of the project, calling it “a good use of the property.”
Timber Ridge Drive resident John Rich, who lives behind the property, called the project “a wise and low-impact use for our neighborhood.”
“We have been concerned for years about what would happen there. This is the best-case scenario for us,” he told the commission.
The property has sat vacant since Keith and Lois Main, the longtime owners of the popular miniature golf course and water park, sold it in 2003 to a Gales Ferry firm that planned a $5 million health club.
That project never went forward after the two principals in the firm were charged with operating an internet Ponzi scheme.
The site then was sold at auction in 2004. In 2005, a Norwalk developer proposed to build 61 condominiums on the site but the Planning and Zoning Commission rejected that project and in 2009 he proposed a supermarket. That project also did not go forward, as he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a bribery scheme. The site, which was sold at a bank foreclosure auction in 2013, is now owned by People’s Bank United.