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Milltown Commons hearing will continue next week

10/5/2009

North StoningtonĀ - Janitors at North Stonington Elementary School had the final say late Thursday night on the proposed Milltown Commons development project at the routes 2 and 184 rotary.

As some residents' hands were still raised for a chance to ask questions at 11:25 p.m., janitors told the Planning and Zoning Commission that the school would be closed in five minutes. Commission member Ann Brown squeezed in one final question and resident Bill Ricker stood to ask that the hearing be continued to next week.

The hearing will continue at 7 p.m. Thursday at a location to be determined. Officials said they will check on what school facilities will be available.

Thursday was the first public hearing on the proposed master plan for the New England Village Special Design District at the routes 2 and 184 rotary. The project calls for 273 housing units, several restaurants, a hotel, bank, medical center, retail shops and office space. The project would be arranged in village settings with town greens, sidewalks and walking trails.

More than 60 residents attended the hearing, which had to be moved to the school at the last minute because the crowd overwhelmed the Town Hall conference room.

Residents and commission members asked several questions on how the developers would provide water and sewer to the project, and what the town's responsibility would be if those systems failed.

Developer Alan Pesch said he would present reports soon on water and sewer proposals.

The plan calls for extending the Stonington sewer line to the project. Traffic upgrades to routes 2 and 184 and the rotary also couldn't be answered directly, because they will be based on orders from the State Traffic Commission, project officials said.

Answering a question on whether the current Milltown Commons LLC development team would stick with the project, Pesch, a longtime North Stonington resident and businessman, said if approved, the master plan would be set in stone as part of the town zoning regulations. Future developers or store franchise owners who want to locate there would have to meet those design standards.

Pesch also said if the regulations for the so-called floating New England Village Special Design District need to change, it's possible the current proposed master plan would be withdrawn to allow time for revisions.

If the master plan is approved by the PZC, the developers next would need a special permit on a site development plan.

c.bessette@theday.com

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