Commercial & Mixed Use Districts

The Commercial and Mixed-Use Districts are meant to accommodate a very wide variety of uses at different scales, including offices, stores, restaurants, entertainment, schools, recreation, health care, and more, as well as all types of residential housing. These districts are designed to accommodate these uses, while still allowing for the changes in commercial district character desired in the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, including smooth transitions from higher intensity to lower intensity uses.  The mixed-use districts allow for multi-Unit housing mixed with retail, services, offices, and other such uses in a walkable, well-connected environment.

Commercial, Regional (CR)

The CR district is meant to accommodate heavier commercial uses such as auto-oriented operations, and is aligned primarily along the Rte 184 corridor.  Residential uses are restricted to multi-Unit, which may serve as a buffer or transition to any neighboring residential zoning districts. This district incorporates the former CB-15 and CA-40 districts.

Commercial, Neighborhood (CN)

The CN district is meant to accommodate lighter, neighborhood-serving retail in nodes or gateways that can serve as a smooth transition between commercial and residential uses.  It may include one-unit dwellings, though two-Unit and multi-unit dwellings are preferred, in order to support commercial uses and serve as a buffer to neighboring residential districts. The district is primarily found along or near the Rte 1 corridor. High-quality, human scale design, with an emphasis on pedestrian connections and green space will be a critical component of any development in this district, as it is meant to play a transitional role between commercial and residential uses.  This district incorporates the former CA-12 and OMF districts with commercial uses, with the exception of the former CA-12 and OMF districts in the Poqquonock Bridge area which are now zoned MVC.

Working Waterfront (WW)

The WW district is restricted to marine-dependent commercial uses and limited marine-related or marine-dependent light industrial uses. It is a very small district, confined on Willow Point peninsula, and among the few in Town where such uses are allowed. It is critical to maintain a space for these uses as they play an important role in the Town’s economy and history.  New residential development and non-marine commercial and industrial uses are therefore prohibited in this district. This district is surrounded by a residential neighborhood, and the only access road into the district crosses through that neighborhood.  Therefore, there must continue to be a balance between ensuring access and activity in the WW to maintain a healthy business climate, and any negative impacts on the neighboring homes. This district was formerly called the WF district.

Nautilus Memorial Design District (NMDD)

The NMDD is designed to allow a mix of commercial development appropriate for supporting and complementing the Submarine Force Museum site. This district has not changed from the existing regulations.

Mystic Downtown District (MDD)

Mystic is famed for its traditional coastal New England character and is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the state. It is an important retail district in Groton with small, locally-owned shops along a main street and high density residential within historic structures.  The MDD district is designed to maintain and enhance this special village by establishing specific guidelines to ensure a mix of compatible uses, concentrated development, pedestrian friendly circulation, shared parking and public spaces, and the continuation of historic styles. The area is also covered by the Mystic River Historic District, and buildings, existing and new, must adhere to historic district design standards. This district was formerly called the Waterfront Design district or WDD.

Mixed-Use Town Center (MTC)

This district is meant to encourage the redevelopment of existing strip malls into mixed-use developments, allowing Groton to meet regional market demand for such development. The MTC district may accommodate a mix of uses as a destination for residents across and outside the Town, ultimately serving as a true Town Center and gathering spot with its own clear identity.  The district is designed to be pedestrian friendly, but still able to accommodate significant vehicular traffic. Development here should be oriented to existing or planned streets with pedestrian amenities, such as extra-wide sidewalks, street tree cutouts, pedestrian-scale lighting, and street furnishings, as well as transit stops. The MTC district is meant to provide flexibility in the siting and design of new developments and redevelopment to anticipate changes in the marketplace. Residential uses are restricted to mixed-use with ground floor retail or services or multi-unit dwellings. The MTC allows for the densest development in Town, with flexible design standards that will allow for creative development approaches to implement the pedestrian friendly vision for the district. Creative placemaking is a critical component of the success of the MTC, and design standards emphasize public plazas, small parks, sidewalks, and spaces for public art. This district was formerly called the Downtown Design district, or DDD.

Mixed-Use Village Center (MVC)

This district intends to provide spaces to accommodate demand for mixed-use development, much like the MTC, but on a smaller, “village” scale with neighborhood-serving retail and services, and places to accommodate artisan production. The MVC is meant to build upon existing character, preserving and enhancing historic or otherwise important buildings, and encouraging context sensitive infill development. The district is designed to be pedestrian friendly, but still able to accommodate significant vehicular traffic along major routes. Development here should be oriented to existing or planned streets with pedestrian amenities, such as extra-wide sidewalks, street tree cutouts, pedestrian-scale lighting, and street furnishings, as well as transit stops, where applicable. Residential uses are restricted to mixed-use with ground floor retail or services, multi-unit dwellings, or live-work spaces for “makers” and artisans. The MVC has more prescriptive design standards than the MTC to ensure that redevelopment and infill respect the history and character of the sites. Creative placemaking is also a critical component of the MVC, and design standards emphasize sidewalks as well as smaller public plazas, parks, and spaces for public art.