SOUTHINGTON – Planning officials voted against one proposal that would have allowed denser age-restricted housing developments but are considering a similar plan.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously against the creation of an elderly housing opportunity district last week. The zone would have applied to any parcel two-acres or larger on a major road.
Jim Sakonchick, president of the engineering firm Kratzert, Jones & Associates, pitched the zone as a way to provide more housing options for seniors looking to downsize. He represented local business owner and developer Frank Fragola, who owns 11 acres on Laning Street and supported the new housing zone.
Commission members voted against the plan after Town Planner Rob Philips said the suggested regulation didn’t state a maximum density for the zone.
“This proposal is a little too open ended. I worry about the outcomes,” he said.
Commission member Robert Hammersley said he was leery of changing the regulation without a clear need.
“I don’t agree with the underlying proposition that we’re short of elderly housing in town. I don’t see it, I don’t feel it,” he said. “We have plenty of housing.”
Sev Bovino, a planner with Kratzert Jones & Associates, represented local developer Mark Lovley on a proposal for a similar zone. Their plan would apply to parcels of at least 5 acres. While Sakonchick’s proposal included multi-family buildings, Bovino and Lovley only included single-family homes.
The zone would allow greater density, provide open space and would have privately-owned roads. Lovley argued there were many benefits of age-restricted housing, including not add to the school population.
While the change could be applied to many areas of town, Bovino and Lovley showed a parcel on South End Road where current zoning would allow six houses. Under the changes, they could put 15 smaller lots on the property.
Larry Depaolo, a Blatchley Avenue resident, questioned how the proposed zoning change would benefit the town. If seniors moved to these homes, Depaolo said it’s likely that more families would move into their larger, vacated houses affecting the school system.
“What do we, the Southington residents, benefit by doing this?” he said. “I see no benefit.”
Lovley said he’s been getting calls from older residents looking for housing.
“If there wasn’t a need for it, I wouldn’t be getting 23 calls for this kind of thing in Southington,” he told commissioners.
The commission postponed a decision on Bovino and Lovley’s proposal.
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