SOUTHINGTON — Town officials say rezoning a portion of downtown Plantsville will make improvements and investment easier for the shops and restaurants that have replaced the area’s factories.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to change the zoning of a host of properties on West Main Street from “industrial” to “central business.” The change was recommended by Town Planner Rob Philips and Economic Development Coordinator Lou Perillo.
The industrial designation made it more difficult for the retail establishments near the intersection of West Main Street and the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail to make improvements. Industrial zoning was appropriate when factories dominated the area.
“Things have changed and right now a lot of these uses are legally non-conforming,” Philips said.
The change was also recommended by the town’s long-term Plan of Conservation and Development.
At its previous meeting, the commission heard from Dean Michanczyk, owner of Dean’s Stove and Spa on West Main Street. He owns buildings on both sides of the road and is renovating two near Zingarella’s Restaurant to expand his stove shop business.
Michanczyk supported the change and said it would be good for the area.
“It’s a good thing the way that everything’s changing down there,” he told commissioners.
Perillo pointed out Michanczyk needed a variance to put an awning on one of his buildings due to the industrial zoning.
Perillo said he doesn’t expect anyone to build industrial buildings near a town center. The current industrial buildings won’t be affected by the rezoning.
“It realigns the uses that are down there,” he said. “It used to be heavy industrial where Zingarella’s is and where Dean’s doing retail.”
Plantsville downtown is the focus of attention as officials consider streetscape improvements and a road safety plan that would eliminate room for on-street parking, which is illegal but persists.
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