SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders approved an agreement with Plantsville property owners that will allow for a municipal parking lot near the Quinnipiac River.
Town Council Republicans prevailed over Democrats to pass the agreement during Monday’s meeting. A council member of each party, Republican Bill Dziedzic and Democrat Val DePaolo, recused themselves due to personal or family financial interests in the property.
In exchange for a portion of the property owners’ land, the town will build and maintain the municipal lot. The 39-lot parking area is slated for the rear of 26 W. Main St., 774 S. Main St. and 778 S. Main St., along the river.
Precision Property Management, which has its offices at 13 W. Main St., bought 774 and 778 S. Main St. several years ago. Dziedzic and Joseph Calvanese own the company.
In April, Dziedzic said he’s in favor of the plan and believes it will help the Plantsville downtown as a whole. With on-street parking illegal in downtown Plantsville, property owners said public parking is important to the success of area businesses.
Cheryl Moran is the owner of the Hop Haus building at 26 W. Main St. She’s also an owner of Anthony Jack’s Restaurant in downtown Southington.
DePaolo recused herself from Monday’s vote, saying a family member had an interest in the properties in question.
Paul Chaplinsky, Town Council vice chairman and a Republican, said the lot was an important alternative, and a safer alternative, to on-street parking.
“The previous town attorney negotiated this deal with the private landowners to use their property,” Chaplinsky said. “I am appreciative of the two landowners that they are forgoing some of their property value in favor of helping the Plantsville community and other businesses in downtown Plantsville.”
Jack Perry, a Democratic councilor, said he and fellow Democrat Chris Palmieri tried unsuccessfully to table action on the agreement Monday night. Perry said he wanted more information on the cost of the project as well as the ongoing maintenance costs that the town will incur.
Under the terms of the $1 lease, the town will maintain the lot for 20 years at which time it’ll revert to the original owners.
“I still don’t know what the yearly costs, the maintenance (are),” Perry said. He described Monday’s presentation of the agreement as the “bare minimum” of information.
Chaplinsky said there were numerous opportunities to ask questions prior to Monday’s meeting. Clarification was also provided at the meeting by Town Manager Mark Sciota, he said.
“I am unsure why we would hold up a project that benefits so many people in downtown Plantsville unless it is for political purposes,” Chaplinsky said.
Reporter Jesse Buchanan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.