Opponents of Southington West Street development cite traffic concerns

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SOUTHINGTON — Neighbors and residents wanted town officials to know their opposition to a proposed West Street development that includes more than 200 apartments as well as shops.

Half a dozen residents submitted letters of opposition to the Planning and Zoning Commission, the town body that will have to decide whether or not to grant the special permit and site plan for the development.

Traffic concerns were the most commonly cited reason for opposition in the letters.

Anthony Properties, a Texas-based development company, is looking to build on 41 acres on West Street owned by the Tolles family. The developer’s plans call for eight residential buildings, two commercial buildings on the corner and a clubhouse on Curtiss Street.

The addition of hundreds of new apartments on a road already heavily used was a cause for concern among the residents who wrote to the town’s planning department.

“If you have recently traveled south on West Street from Bristol to Southington in the afternoon, you are aware of the reality of sitting in traffic backed up almost every day as you approach Spring and Curtiss Streets,” said a letter written by four Summit Street couples.

Josephine Pisarsky, a Curtiss Street resident, said she feels unsafe at times even getting the mail at the end of her driveway due to the number of cars passing by. A new development would only make the problem much worse.

“Traffic on Curtiss Street has continuously increased through the years with each approved application,” she wrote. Pisarsky cited the North Main Street Stop & Shop, Target and Lowes off West Street and other businesses as developments that have led to increased traffic on her street.

Neighbors were also concerned about the increased strain on town resources that additional residents would cause.

“This will add long term costs for increased infrastructure (police, fire, schools, teachers, public utilities, etc.) that will be required in the future. These added costs will likely far outweigh the immediate development benefit,” wrote the Gworek, Pfanzelt, Schaupp and Schlosser families.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had planned to hold a public hearing on the Anthony Properties request but tabled it Tuesday night.

Bob Salka, the board vice chairman and Tuesday’s acting chairman, said the company requested that the matter be heard instead at the meeting planned for March 7.

Salka didn’t say why the company asked for the postponement.

Company officials said the development’s apartments will cater to young professionals and empty-nesters. They believed the project would cost about $54 million.

The Tolles’ property falls in the West Street business zone which has requirements about the ratio of residential to commercial development allowed.

Anthony Properties said the ratio of two-to-one residential to commercial square feet wasn’t achievable with the decline in demand for commercial space. In April, the Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to change the requirement in favor of a five-to-one ratio of residential to commercial space.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ


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