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Residents unhappy with apartment plan in Southington downtown

Residents unhappy with apartment plan in Southington downtown

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — Residents and property owners aren’t happy about a plan to put a 30-unit apartment building in the middle of a residential block.

Hunter Build LLC is looking to build apartments on just under two acres in the middle of a residential block bordered by Liberty Street, Eden Avenue, Columbus Avenue and Bristol Street. The plan includes apartments meeting the state's affordable designation, leaving the town with fewer options for denying the developers.

Town planners haven’t taken a vote on the proposal yet but have heard the developer’s plans as well as opposition from some residents.

Property owners, tenants and residents of that block came out to speak against the plan at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday, arguing it would bring too much density and increased traffic. No decision was made.

“This is high density housing with apartment like structures that don’t belong in residents’ backyards,” said Franco Izzo. He owns a rental property on Bristol Street along with his brother, Mario Izzo, who also spoke against the plan to build apartments.

Mario Izzo said whether the residents are owners or tenants, they shouldn’t have housing for 30 families built so close.

“They don’t expect to have these units in their backyards,” he said.

The formula for determining affordable apartments is calculated based on the area median income and the guideline that families shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Chris Smith, an attorney representing Hunter Build LLC, said many of the town and Board of Education's employees would qualify for such housing.

“The affordable or workforce housing component in these 30 dwellings will provide for additional, more diverse housing opportunities,” he told commission members.

The Hartford metro median income for 2019 was $97,000 for families.

Nine of the 30 units will be rented at below-market rates to families making no more than 60 to 80 percent of the median income. Below-rate rent would range from a maximum of $1,019 for a one bedroom to a maximum of $1,514 for a two bedroom.

The state wants each municipality to have at least 10 percent of its housing stock qualify as affordable. If a town doesn’t meet that threshold, the town has fewer reasons it can deny a developer proposing affordable housing.

“Southington only has 5.38 percent,” Smith said. With that percentage, he argued that there was a need for cheaper housing in town.
Twitter: @JBuchananRJ