2022 will be a crucial year in determining the future of the Mystic Oral School property.
Prior to 2021, the State and the Town signed agreements with Respler Homes, LLC to purchase and develop the Mystic Oral School property. MOSA was started in 2021 to raise awareness in the town to the absurdity of the development scope and to garner support to push back on the development scope and the way in which the contracts were awarded. As part of this effort, MOSA members uncovered previous significant unlawful practices that Respler was convicted of, making any further partnering between Respler and the Town unacceptable in our view. In addition, MOSA members struggled to obtain public documents and information concerning the Development Agreement between the Town and Respler and the Purchase and Sales agreement between the State and Respler. Clearly, neither the State nor the Town did their due diligence when vetting Respler, which has led to concern about the way the Town conducts business relative to contracting.
As a result of the light shown on the Development Agreement and the lack of compliance by Respler in meeting their obligations in the Development Agreement, the Town is currently participating in non-binding good faith mediation with Respler in accordance with the Development Agreement for the Mystic Oral School. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be much energy being displayed by either side to resolve the issues since the negotiations began in the late Summer and Fall of 2021. On 26 January, 2022, the New London Day ran a story about the sale of Respler Homes, LLC to Blue Lotus Group. A link to the article is below. In addition, the state has sent a letter to Respler, identifying concerns the State has with the talk about Blue Lotus Group and modifying the RFP details. See the link below to the Town Council from our attorney related to the mediation and Blue Lotus Group. It certainly appears that Blue Lotus Group is another problem for the Town, State and MOSA.
In parallel, the purchase and sales agreement between the State and Respler for the Mystic Oral School property is essentially on hold awaiting the Town negotiations with Respler (Blue Lotus Group?). There are deadlines with both the Town and State agreements with Respler that are either past due now or are scheduled to come due this year. MOSA expects the negotiations to end up in court with Respler (Blue Lotus Group?) trying to salvage as much as possible from the deal. Hopefully, by year end, the deal will be terminated, both with the Town and the State, and the Town can move on to determining, with the State, a reasonable development solution for the property.
MOSA believes that one of the largest impediments to the development of the property is the condition of the existing buildings and potential contamination of the buildings and grounds, with the State trying to saddle any developer and the Town with the cost to clean up the area and refurbish or demolish the existing buildings. Until that problem can be sorted, any future development plans will be burdened with those problems.
There are many issues with the Town that have been raised over the course of 2021 that individual members of the MOSA group are taking forward into 2022 in an effort to avoid the same mistakes the Town has made with the Mystic Oral School property. Collectively, the goal of MOSA is, as it has always been, development of the Mystic Oral School property that is in keeping with the rural character of this portion of Groton and in keeping with the existing zoning requirements and Plan of Conservation and Development. You can find the Town of Groton zoning information and the Groton Plan of Conservation and Development in the Documents/Contracts page of this web site or at the Town of Groton web site.
New London Day Article dated 26 January 2022
State of CT Letter to Respler dated 22 April 2022
Letter to Town Council Re: Respler and Blue Lotus Group dated 30 April 2022