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Stonington PZC approves plan for former Sailor Ed's restaurant

Mystic — The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission have approved a plan by a Pawcatuck man to reopen a 100-seat restaurant and other businesses in the former Sailor Ed's building and have two outdoor vendors.

Following a public hearing on Tuesday night, the commission approved the special use permit being sought by the property owner, the Papas Group Inc. and George Secchiaroli of Pawcatuck, who will operate the Old Stonington Road facility.

While Sailor Ed's and other restaurants that followed in the building had up to 250 seats, the stipulations attached to the special use permit approved Tuesday allow 100 seats including any outdoor seating on a small deck in the rear.

The commission, which is in the midst of taking enforcement action against the nearby Rocks 21 restaurant for continuing to present live bands outside in violation of zoning regulations and its permit, attached another stipulation to the Sailor Ed's approval that states "no live music or amplified music above normal dining volume is permitted indoors or outdoors."

While Secchiaroli originally had proposed six outdoor vendors, he has reduced that to two because of the town's large square footage requirement for each vendor. The vendors can operate from 9 a.m. to sunset Friday, Saturday, Sundays and holidays from April through October. 

The 2,800 square feet of the building identified for commercial space may be used for retail, retail-restaurant, personal and financial services, a day care center or offices without further commission review. Individual retail-restaurant uses, such as a planned ice cream shop, may have up to eight seats.

The commission also specified that lighting cannot spill over onto adjacent properties. Project engineer Sergio Cherenzia also told the commission Tuesday that curbing will be restored along the street and landscaping will be added. Currently the site has a deteriorated parking lot with overgrown bushes and no real landscaping.

The commission also made sure during its review Tuesday that each use in the building had the number of parking spots required by the regulations.

Located just east of the Big Y off Route 1, Sailor Ed's had a long run from 1924 into the 1990s, billing itself as "the Shore Dinner House of Distinction." It was popular with locals and tourists. A series of new owners followed before the last tenant, the Tongue and Groove nightclub, shut for good about 15 years ago. It has been vacant since.

"Being a vacant parcel like this is not desirable in any community," Cherenzia told the commission about the current state of the property and the benefits of the project.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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