SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders are considering how to manage a downtown Plantsville parcel that could become public property.
The Town Council voted to send the proposed purchase of 766 S. Main St. to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation. Owner Linda Zommer has agreed to sell the tenth of an acre property on the corner of Main and West Main streets for $40,000.
Since 2017, four vehicles have driven through the intersection and over Zommer’s property to hit the building at 26 W. Main St. Two of the crashes resulted in drunk driving charges while a third involved a sleeping driver. There are a host of state-funded safety and beautification improvements for Plantsville scheduled to begin this year.
The contract stipulates that the land be used for a small park. During Monday night’s council meeting, some members asked how restrictions on the property would be maintained.
Town Manager Mark Sciota said uses for the land would be recorded on the deed if the land is sold but could be changed by a vote of a Town Council majority.
“In this case it was important for the property owners and the council members that we spell that out,” Sciota said.
No plans for the corner lot have been confirmed but town leaders have talked about a low wall with ”Plantsville” written on it, tables, chairs, lights and other features to improve the corner, attract pedestrians and make it clear to drivers that the corner is not part of the roadway. Since the recent accidents, the town has installed large yellow signs directing motorists away from the property.
Chris Poulos, a Town Council member who helped negotiate the sale with the Zommer family, said he appreciated them agreeing to sell the land for more than $20,000 less than the appraised value. Helping improve Plantsville was one of their goals, Poulos said, and part of the family’s legacy.
“The Zommers have contributed for decades to Plantsville,” he said.
Tom Lombardi, Town Council vice chairman, said the merits of the property drove the sale, although he agreed that the Zommers were an asset to the town.
“When we purchase land or development rights, it shouldn’t matter who’s selling the land. We aren’t buying it because the Zommers are selling it,” Lombardi said.
The lot used to have a bar on it but is now a gravel lot. Lombardi said there’s been parking at the location and wants to have clear rules on how it’ll be used if the town acquires it.
“We can’t have it continue operating the way that it is,” he said.