STONINGTON — The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the construction of a five-story, 80-room extended stay hotel at 321 Liberty St, Route 2, in Pawcatuck, Tuesday night.
The 40,000-square-foot building will share a driveway with Tractor Supply Co. at 331 Liberty Street, as well as a stormwater retention pond at the back of the properties.
The project was proposed by Mystic Sahajanand, LLC, of Pawcatuck, whose principal, Mukesh Patel, also owns the 75-room La Quinta Inn & Suites at 349 Liberty St., which was constructed in 2009.
The back of the building will be sited at the high point of the 8.8-acre property, close to Liberty St., with the front entrance located at the opposite end in the parking lot. The building will be constructed into the slope of the property so that it will be four stories at street level and a fifth level will be built as a lower story at the entrance.
At Tuesday’s meeting, engineer Sergio Cherenzia, president of Cherenzia & Associates of Pawcatuck, addressed a number of items that were raised in the May 16 hearing, including an explanation of stormwater management that he said will reduce the amount of stormwater runoff across the abutter’s property. He said the stormwater will discharge to a retention and detention basin that will treat the water before it is released.
Dust control, which was requested by the neighbors, will be implemented during construction, he said.
Cherenzia said the previously included patio has been reduced to a six-foot picnic table or two and there will be no outdoor fire pit as previously discussed.
Concerning the building’s three loading docks, he said that through discussions with the town planner and town attorneys, it was determined that the hotel does not receive deliveries of hazardous materials, which would have required building roofs over the loading docks. Cherenzia said that cleaning services will be outsourced and there will be no cleaning supplies delivered.
“There is no pool, no spa, no hot tubs, so no chemicals associated with that,” he said. “The most caustic thing is probably the same things you’d find in a residential household, unless someone comes in to do some heavy, deep cleaning, but that would not be stored on site.”
He also provided “nightscape” renderings showing the building at night, adding that his firm would return to the commission for permits for the backlit signage.
Neighbors Terry Chiaradio and Dennis Maynard, of 311 Liberty St., who had expressed concerns at the May 16 meeting about noise, lighting, traffic and water lines, addressed the commission on Tuesday about potentially incorrect property lines on the site plan.
Chiaradio told the commission she reviewed the deed with Ted Ladwig, the attorney who set up her family’s property deed, and “there was one line we were not positive on.” She said she was waiting to hear back from the original surveyors who worked on the Tractor Supply, a facility that was constructed in 2010.
Board member Charles Sheehan said that lot line disputes are a civil matter between property owners, but if the lot line shifts, it could impact the setbacks.
Cherenzia said that his firm had checked the land evidence records where the property lines matched. He said that if there were property line issues that impact the project, his firm would be back before zoning to adjust the site plans.
Chiaradio also cited safety issues and a significant number of accidents on Route 2 in the last 12 months.
“Whether it’s the town or the state, something needs to be addressed in that area because we’re continuing to add businesses and it’s not safe,” she said.
Sheehan said a larger development would have triggered a review by the Office of State Transportation Administration, but, he said, the town’s police commission reviewed the traffic, parking and safety issues and approved the project in April 2023.
Chiaradio also said she was concerned about her property value once the project is built. “When this goes in, my house is worth nothing for me to sell.”
The commission unanimously approved two special use permits for the project with six stipulations, among which were posting an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Bond, notifying town staff prior to construction so that they can inspect the erosion control measures, and providing a plan for best practices for stormwater management.
After the meeting, Patel told CT Examiner that his company will operate and manage the hotel as a franchise of Extended Stay America, which provides suites equipped with kitchens and on-site laundry facilities.