Connecticut’s Stamford Harbor has a new full-service boatyard, but critics of the project don’t believe the facility can overcome the stigma created by not having one for seven years, or that the compromise deal between the city and developer Building & Land Technology (BLT) is being fulfilled.
Hinckley Yard and Service Center opened this past weekend after several plans between the city and BLT were rejected. The developer demolished a boatyard in the city’s South End in 2011 when it ended its lease with Brewer’s Yacht Haven West.
The new yard has fewer dock and storage spaces, but will have a full-service center, and importantly to proponents, brings back a fuel dock to Stamford Harbor which it has not had since the demise of the former facility. BLT is also to open a separate storage facility in another location by August as part of the agreement.
The boatyard issue is tied to a long-running dispute and legal action pitting the city against a Long Island Sound advocacy group. SoundKeeper, a group trying to bring back the South End boatyard, contends that Stamford’s Zoning Board wrongfully amended a regulation to allow BLT to build the new yard as a replacement.
The city counters that SoundKeeper has no standing in the two-year-old lawsuit because the environment was not harmed.
According to the Stamford Advocate, many locals believe that the 2011 boatyard closure left the boating industry decimated when businesses and skilled tradespeople left the area.