SOUTHINGTON – A plan for housing on Laning Street that has been on and off the table for several years is again up for town approval.
Frank and Mary Fragola, landowners and founders of Fragola Performance Systems and associated companies, hope to build a 30-unit age-restricted affordable housing development at 295 Laning St. The Planning and Zoning Commission will begin considering the proposal next month.
The current plan is a pared-down version of one first suggested in 2015 that included 60 condominiums. The property lies outside the town’s sewer service zone, limiting the amount of houses that can be built on the 11-acre property. In 2016 the larger plan was withdrawn.
Fragola introduced a plan to build a 31-unit development on the site in 2019 and suggested a plan to get sewer access. In exchange for permanently forgoing sewer service on land he owns in the town’s sewer service area, the town would amend the sewer service map to include the Laning Street property.
Democrats, who held a majority of the Town Council in 2019, rejected Fragola’s proposal while Republicans unsuccessfully supported it. Fragola withdrew the housing plan after the sewer swap’s failure. He submitted it again in September 2019.
Republicans took a majority of the council in the November 2019 municipal elections. Fragola’s attorney Bryan Meccariello was scheduled to make a presentation to the council on the sewer plan again in December 2019 but that was dropped after a Democratic council member questioned donations made by people related to Fragola to the Republican party before November’s election.
Duplex houses, age restricted and affordable
The current iteration of the plan calls for 15 duplex ranch-style houses. Meccariello said Wednesday that the design incorporates a septic system for each building, although he said the town never formally denied the developer’s plan for a sewer swap.
Meccariello said nine of the 30 units will be considered affordable as defined by state statute. That makes the development more difficult for the town to deny.
Homes will start around $155,000 for those who meet the lowest income requirements. The market-rate houses will cost around $350,000. They’ll run from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage.
The town’s plan of conservation and development calls for more affordable and senior housing, Meccariello said. While the town has age-restricted rentals, there are fewer options for seniors looking to buy.
“It hits all the right marks in the plan of conservation and development,” he said of the proposal.
Fragola is also working with the adjacent Hawk’s Landing Country Club to provide a cart path and club access to residents of the development.
“It fits well because it’s age-restricted. It allows somebody 55 and older whose kids are grown who have that four bedroom colonial to sell that to a young family… They can jump into this,” Meccariello said. “There’s a list of people who are looking at it as well because they like that (golf community) concept.”