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After seven years of acrimony, a boatyard returns to Connecticut

Hinckley recently opened a full-service boatyard and service center in Stamford, Conn. The new facility is the first in the city after property developer BLT demolished a yard there in 2011 when the previous tenant’s lease expired.

BLT demolished the yard, situated on 14 acres of waterfront, without the local zoning board’s knowledge.

That created uproar in the upscale city, with an environmental advocacy group called SoundKeeper launching a Save Our Boatyard initiative. The group filed a lawsuit against Stamford officials and BLT two years ago to stop the development of a new yard in a different location, arguing the developer must rebuild on the previous site.

According to GreenwichTime.com, Stamford’s mayor brokered a compromise with BLT and the local zoning board for a smaller yard and separate storage facility. Hinckley is the new tenant.

“Stamford was really lacking a full-service boatyard, and that’s what we are,” Peter Manion, Hinckley’s general manager, told the paper. “You name it, we do it.”

In the lawsuit, SoundKeeper alleged that the city violated its own zoning agreement with BLT, as well as state environmental regulations, when it allowed the developer to use the site for something other than a boatyard. The group contends BLP’s actions were illegal and that the local zoning board amended its regulations so the developer does not have to rebuild a yard on the original site. The judge has ruled that Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection must provide an opinion about BLT’s plan to replace the boatyard.

In the meantime, Hinckley has become the tenant in the new yard — a full-repair facility with marina slips and boat lift. BLT must complete a boat-storage facility by August.

Manion told the paper that Hinckley was not involved with the original site or the agreement for the new yard. He said Hinckley, which has eight boatyards from Florida to Maine, is simply a renter. “We are here for the long term,” he told the paper.

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