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Dental clinic developer seeks zoning variance

By Joe Wojtas

Publication: theday.com

Published February 20. 2013 6:00PM   Updated February 20. 2013 6:52PM

Stonington — The developer whose controversial plan to build a dental clinic in front of the Ocean Community YMCA was rejected by the Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission last month is now seeking a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

When the PZC rejected the plans of Summit Street Development LLC, it ruled that Summit Street needs to obtain a variance for the nonconforming, vacant commercial lot before it can seek approval from the commission. A hearing is expected next month.

Although zoning regulations require a minimum lot of 80,000 square feet, the lot has just 46,762 square feet. The lot was created before zoning regulations went into effect.

In its variance request, Summit Street argued that legal hardship exists because the regulations result in a lot that cannot be used. The developer said this would be the equivalent of the taking of land without just compensation, which is a violation of state and federal law.

In order to obtain a variance, an applicant must prove legal hardship.

The project meets other requirements such as setbacks and buffers. Summit Street has also appealed the PZC denial to Superior Court and asked a judge to approve a permit for the project.

Opponents and neighbors of the project had told the commission they were worried about the impact a dental clinic would have on traffic and the character of their residential neighborhood. The lot, though, is located on land zoned for manufacturing.

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