An Amtrak train passes through the new Wallingford rail station under construction off North Cherry Street, Monday, July 25, 2016. | Dave Zajac, Record-Journal
July 26, 2016 12:03PM
WALLINGFORD — The Planning and Zoning Commission has adopted the Transit-Oriented Development Plan, outlining recommendations for developments and infrastructure updates around the new train station in advance of expanded rail service on the Hartford Line.
The town received a state grant for $75,000 to create the plan in June 2015. Consulting firm Fitzgerald & Halliday was hired craft the plan and conduct a market study.
The plan, approved Monday night, consists of a review of the area within three-quarters of a mile of the train platform, running approximately between North Plains Highway and downtown Wallingford, incorporating the Route 5 corridor and the Choate Rosemary Hall campus.
Key recommendations include moving the current commercial, industrial zone in the immediate vicinity of the new train station north toward North Plains Highway while allowing for medium- and high-density residential development instead. The plan recommends mixed-use zoning for the area south of the train station, heading downtown, to encourage developments with retail on the first floor and apartments above.
Although much of the area around the new station consists of small, privately owned parcels, the consultants grouped certain parcels together to highlight how those areas could be transformed into developments. One section highlighted is the area formerly owned by Davenport Associates along Parker Street, which the commission approved for a new apartment housing complex in May. The project, which will add nearly 200 apartments to the Parker Place apartment complex, is consistent with many of the recommendations in the plan, according to Town Planner Kacie Costello.
Another key component of the plan recommends making streetscape improvements in the area — creating sidewalks and bike lanes — to encourage alternate forms of transportation.
“If you want to create business in that area it has to be pedestrian-friendly and I think most people would agree that the west side of North Colony Road is not really pedestrian-friendly and certainly the streetscape itself is lacking,” said commission Chairman Jim Seichter.
Commission members spoke favorably of the plan. Alternate Larry Zabrowski said he was satisfied with the plan, but he said it could have given more attention to the area around Community Lake.
Costello praised the consultants. “I think Fitzgerald & Halliday did a fantastic job and I think the direction that is provided in here is very appropriate,” he said.
After a brief discussion, the commission voted to unanimously adopt the plan.
In other business, commission members discussed a proposed Affordable Housing Overlay Zone, including a possible elderly housing restriction, for a proposed apartment complex in Yalesville at 103 N. Turnpike Road.