SOUTHINGTON — A business specializing in senior housing is looking to have text amendments made to the Housing Opportunity District’s zoning regulations to provide more elderly and affordable housing in town, according to acting Town Planner Dave Lavallee.
Changes would help to “provide more housing opportunities to people 62 and older,” Lavallee said.
Sev Bovino, a planner with Kratzert Jones & Associates in Milldale, represented Lancaster Land LP at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week and relayed the proposed additions to the zoning regulations. Bovino has not released what area of town the company is targeting for the homes.
Proposed amendments include allowing a project within 1,500 feet of Interstate 84. The lot would have to be 10 acres or greater and must be “between a residential and non-residentially zoned parcel not less than one mile from the town line,” Lavallee said. Thirty percent of the homes would have to be designated as affordable.
“Many steps have to be taken before this change can be made,” Bovino said during the meeting Tuesday.
Southington is 7 percent below the state goal for affordable housing. The state asks that 10 percent of housing in town is classified as affordable. Town officials had said the growing senior population and the state’s high cost of living are the reason the town is under the average.
During a public hearing on the proposal at a commission meeting on June 18 some residents were concerned about the number of text amendments proposed because the company has yet to say where in town the development would be located. There were also concerns about a lack of parking for future tenants. Others said they were in favor of additional senior housing in general.
These kinds of requests are not unusual, said commissioner James Sinclair, and happen several times a year. Usually when applicants come with a text amendment, “they have a plan in mind,” Sinclair said.
“What he’s doing is a text amendment so he can apply to more than one parcel,” Sinclair said. “He’s looking to change the regulations themselves to allow for senior housing with an affordable element.”
Commission Vice Chairman Paul Chaplinsky said it’s an opportunity from the applicant’s perspective to improve the town’s regulations so that more lots the company is interested in can be “conformed to their regulations.”
“They’re following a standard process,” he said.
A public hearing on the matter is still open after last Tuesday night’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting and will be continued at the next meeting on Sept. 17. Because the hearing is still open, commissioners declined to voice their opinions on the proposed amendments.