GROTON -- Town officials on Tuesday began to narrow their focus as developers of the new Groton Inn continued to fine-tune their plans to rebuild the historic structure.
The latest chapter in the review process took place at a joint meeting of the Historic Districts Commission and Planning Board.
There, both groups heard about the latest changes made to landscaping features of the proposed building and aired their own concerns regarding details of the design.
As the project stands, the new inn will include changes from earlier presentations that eliminated a separate group of short-term rental cabins to the rear of the main inn building, replacing them with a single structure that planners have called "the stables."
Fashioned to resemble a Colonial-era stable, the building will hold a number of rooms for rent with such outdoor features as garden area and horse trough.
The inn building will consist of a ground floor with room for a gift shop, a 50-seat restaurant, a function room and office space, while the second and third floors will hold 29 guest rooms and a basement area with studio and office space, and a gym.
Next door, a carriage house will include a caretaker's apartment on the second floor with a ground floor given over to a possible rental shop for skis, bicycles, and other sporting equipment or community space.
Three townhouse-style buildings will offer permanent one- and two-bedroom rental spaces with views encompassing nearby Gibbet Hill.
Attention at the meeting zeroed in on issues of architecture, design, density of buildings, lighting and building profiles.
Also addressed were elevation issues detailing how each building would look as viewed from any other, a concept made easier to grasp following a site walk of the Main Street property conducted by the HDC prior to the meeting.
"I personally found (the site walk) really eye-opening," said HDC Chairman Daniel Barton. "It was really useful to do that."
The Planning Board has been conducting hearings on the project. According to board Chairman George Barringer, members were at the HDC meeting in a spirit of cooperation and coordination.
Barringer said it was hoped that keeping informed of what other land-use boards were doing in regards to reviewing plans for the proposed inn would improve the efficiency of the special permitting process.
Barringer told commissioners the board had already informed developers Chris Ferris and Richard Cooper of 128 Main Street LLC of their concerns, including showing where an easement could lay, allowing future access between the inn and next door 134 Main St., home of the Boynton Meadows residential complex currently rising on the property.
Ferris and Cooper have entered into a purchase and sales agreement with landowner George Pergantis to buy the 8.5-acre lot that straddles the heart of downtown and that had been the site of a fire in 2011 that consumed the original Groton Inn.
Other issues raised by the Planning Board included a walking trail connecting the Groton Inn property with Boynton Meadows, the creation of another handicapped-parking space, and the possible removal of trees where the property accesses Main Street.
"We're at the very end of our (review) process," said Barringer.
Commissioners voted to continue the public hearing until July 1, when they expect to explore the issues of architectural detail of the various buildings, density relations between planned structures and other construction details.