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Sunset Ribs Looking To Add Pool, Cabana To Create “Resort Feel"

Sunset Ribs wants to develop its property to make it an attraction, but several town officials aren't too happy with the idea.

Monday night, owner Frank Maratta shared his hopes to add a pool, deck and cabana to to the Planning and Zoning Commission, saying the additions would bring a “resort feel” to Mago Point.

Maratta explained in the pre-application meeting that the pool would be five-feet deep, at most, and be an attraction that would draw people from Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. He added that Mago Point is a “diamond in the rough” and this pool and cabana will “put a different light on it.”

But the town was hardly ready to dive right in. Waterford Police Chief Murray Pendleton voiced concerns in an interview with Patch, and Waterford Planning Director Tom Wagner questioned the project as well.

“That’s exceptionally high risk,” said Pendleton, who did agree that Mago Point is far from reaching its potential. “I appreciate (Maratta’s) creativity, but I’m not sure this is the way to go.”

The Monday meeting was a pre-application meeting, meaning Maratta did not submit official plans, but instead met with the Planning and Zoning Commission to garner feedback from its members. The commission members expressed mixed feelings about the proposal, and Chairman Edwin Maguire said getting approval would be difficult. 

“It might be a tough sell,” Maguire said.

The Proposal

Maratta is planning to build a cabana, bathrooms, another deck and a pool off of the current deck at the property, in the spot where motorcycles often park. Maratta said he has seen pools at bars in Florida and Texas, but this would be the first one in Connecticut.

There would be a new entrance built to the restaurant, where on the ground floor there would be bathrooms where people would have to shower before getting in the pool, Maratta said. Above those bathrooms there would be a deck surrounding a five-foot deep pool and a cabana, he said.

The pool would have LED lighting that would change the color of the water, and the entire section would be built and landscaped to create a resort-like atmosphere, Maratta said. If built, it would be a draw for people from Long Island, Fishers Island, Rhode Island and from around the state, he said.

“It’s going to portray a fun atmosphere, without a doubt,” Maratta said. “A resort, fun atmosphere. That’s what we want.”

If it was built, Sunset Ribs would be able to open during the day on weekdays, something it doesn’t do now, Maratta said. The unique development would help every business in Mago Point, and help an area that is in desperate need of attention, he said.

“We’ve been forgotten about (in Mago Point),” Maratta said. “It’s a diamond in the rough.”

Town’s Concerns

Wagner said he didn’t think the pool fits into the town’s zoning regulations. Sunset Ribs sits in the waterfront district zone, which does allow for “swimming pools and swimming clubs,” according to the town’s zoning regulations.

Wagner said though the primary use of Sunset Ribs is a bar and restaurant, and this would be adding another primary use, which isn’t allowed. Accessory uses are allowed, but Wagner said he didn’t think an accessory use for a bar is a pool.

Pendleton has his own concerns regarding public safety. He said the area is a “high-traffic area,” and a pool would be a danger.

“We talk about putting something in harm's way, it seems to me that pool would be very high risk from a traffic standpoint,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton said that he has never heard of a pool at a bar, and said it would be “exceptionally high risk.” He said drinking and glassware would both be problems.

“I don’t know of any scenario like this in the state,” Pendleton said. “I can imagine glassware would be an issue, intoxication could be an issue.”

Maratta said “he was having a hard time” with the public safety issues, as pools at bars exist throughout the world. He said he would meet with his engineer and try to make everybody comfortable with the idea.

“I think we have to talk about it,” said Maratta, who didn’t give a timeline of when or if he would formally submit an application. “I don’t know if I was totally shut off (by the board on Monday), I did hear some positives. And we have to address all their concerns.”

ZIGGY August 30, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Traficonda---move or purchase a couple of white noise machines like I use when sleeping---Tops will be coming off(not talkin bout convertables)----worse thing-lotta peein in the pool..........go for it
Carolyn Carter August 31, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Mohegan Sun has a bar/pool party called GLO. It can be done and has been done in CT. There's no reason that this should not be considered by the town. Especially if they are trying to clean up an area of town. I don't see how a pool is a traffic violation, especially when they are at the end of the road, by themselves. It's not like Sunset is at an intersection. Let them build!!!
Daniella Ruiz September 03, 2012 at 05:21 PM
the DOT has used millions of board feet of precious lumber to construct 'sound barriers' to reduce the noise levels from vehicles that subject neighbors. perhaps an ordinance requiring some similar noise barrier be devised for future (current) known point sources (drunken fools, screaming and hooting, noxious 'music', motorcycle roars and and peelouts) of this obnoxious abuse of the neighbors quietude. if these joints cannot contain this public disturbance, put them out of business. grow up america, stop growing into a classless bunch of drunken party animals.
Daniella Ruiz September 03, 2012 at 05:29 PM
lots of people can hear your message, loud and clear!! ever talk to the folks in downtown New London? they share your same annoyances. these party/dance bar owners are selfish and inconsiderate proprietors, permanent installation of sound monitoring equipment could be used to enforce what little teeth our legislation affords the taxpaying public in the way of quality of life. calibrated cell phones can be used as mobile measuring units for real time transmission to 911 operators or PD desk.
nascarblue September 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM
this is definatly a BAD idea, living in this area, close by, we have to put up with enough noise from sunset ribs, dont get me wrong here, i love bikes, but when you have 10, 20 or 30 at a time on a consistent basis it is very annoying, especially when some feel the need to open them up as they round the corner to increase the noise, not to mention they just left a BAR and have been drinking. living here and in the past have seen a few dump thier bikes, their pals helping them get up before the police show up, and it surprised me when a couple could hardly walk never mind ride their bikes, thats not the issue, frank, a pool, a bar, people that drink more than they should and jump into the pool?? come on, 5 ft. is not going to help when a group decides they want their party IN THE POOL, i can visualize this now, skinny dipping, obnoxious people, louder noise then what we already have, living here you have not shown us the residents any respect as far as toning down the noise, you do not live here and have no idea what it sounds like, why dont you leave things status-quo, you dont need a cabana feeling, you need to show some respect to your neighbors.

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