CHESHIRE — Owners of north end land near the highway are considering a retail, housing and office development and had preliminary talks with the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Tri Star Development LLC, a Manchester company, and Miller, Napolitano and Wolff LLC own nearly all the land bordered by Interstate 691, Highland Avenue, the Southington town line and Dickerman Road. The two companies had plans to develop the land with W/S Development, a deal which collapsed in 2015.
EJ Kurtz III, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said it’s encouraging to see interest in the property.
“It’s great for the town of Cheshire to have interest in the north end,” he said. “If they could get something going down there, we’d all like to see that happen.”
Representatives of the owners discussed a conceptual plan with commission members at a special meeting earlier this month. Drawings included restaurants, medical offices, retail buildings, assisted living apartments, a hotel and other residential.
William Voelker, town planner, said the commission is limited in what it can say to a developer before an application is
submitted. Informal discussions can help a developer craft plans and get a sense of what’s acceptable to the town’s leaders.
State statutes allow informal discussions, but the commission can’t make promises to approve the plan if particular things are included or omitted, according to Voelker.
“What the commission can’t say is, ‘If you move the road ten feet I can do it,’” he said.
Kurtz said no commission members had any major objections to the plan discussed, but stressed that it’s a small first step in a very long process. If developers put a plan before the commission, it could look very different from the concept presented.
“It was just a preliminary, ‘This is what we’re thinking,’” Kurtz said. “They’re just trying to get a feeling from us.”
Town leaders had hoped to make the property more attractive to developers following the loss of the W/S deal by installing water and sewer on the site for $1.5 million. Voters rejected the project at a referendum last year.
Anthony Fazzone, a lawyer representing the developers, was not available for comment. John Milone, president of the engineering firm Milone & Macbroom that drew up the plans, didn’t return a call for comment.