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Developer planning RV park on tribe-owned property in Preston

Preston — A developer is proposing to build an RV park on land the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe owns near Avery Pond in the town’s southeastern corner.

Blue Water Development Corp., based in Ocean City, Md., has invited residents of the neighborhood to an informational session next week to meet company officials “and learn more about the vision and thoughtful design of the future Foxwoods RV Park.”

The meeting is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Poquetanuck Fire Department, 87 Route 2A.

“I can confirm that we are working with Blue Water Development on a new, environmentally conscious RV park,” Jason Guyot, president and chief executive officer of the tribe’s Foxwoods Resort Casino, said Wednesday when asked about the proposal. “We are in the preliminary planning phase and are currently working closely with the local community to make sure we deliver a thoughtful plan.”

Guyot said Foxwoods has been “an invested community partner for almost 30 years” and considers meeting with community members to be an important part of the planning process. He said the tribe, which would lease the development site to Blue Water Development, wants to make sure the proposed project is “the right fit.”

Details about the proposal will be made public later this month, Guyot said.

Representatives of Blue Water Development have briefly met with the town’s planning department but the company has yet to file any applications, according to Bekah Little, planning and land use administrative assistant, who was unaware of Blue Water’s planned meeting with residents.

Town Planner Kathy Warzecha was out of the office Wednesday.

The development site, on former farmland the Mashantuckets purchased from the Dawley family in 1994, is near the intersection of Routes 2 and 164, just north of the casino. Prior to the tribe’s purchase of the land, town residents voted in a referendum not to buy it.

In 2016, a portion of the property was eyed as a site for a rock music festival. Neighbors opposed such use of the property, a factor in the event ultimately being held at a nearby location on the Mashantucket reservation.

Michael Hotchkiss, a Griswold resident who grew up on Lynn Drive, which runs near Avery Pond, said he first heard of Blue Water Development's plan in 2019 and questions whether an RV park is an appropriate use of the property, given the environmental impact such a development could have.

His parents still live on Lynn Drive.

“The fear is that they’ll clear-cut the area or at least remove a lot of trees,” Hotchkiss said of Blue Water Development.

“You can’t boat on that lake, or swim in it, but it’s good for fishing,” he said, referring to Avery Pond, a natural lake. “It’s really scenic, not recreational.”

Blue Water Development, whose website, bwdc.com,  identifies “Foxwoods RV Park” as an upcoming attraction, describes itself as a real estate developer specializing in commercial and hospitality properties along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. In a news release Wednesday, it announced it recently sold two Bethany Beach, Del., hotels it had owned.

“In addition to its existing portfolio of nearly two dozen waterfront or water-adjacent properties, Blue Water is currently developing seven RV resorts and four hotels,” the release said.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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