SOUTHINGTON —The Planning and Zoning Commission took up a local developer's request Tuesday to rezone a more than 20-acre lot on Curtiss Street from its current industrial zoning to residential.
About 3,300 square feet of the current lot at 136 Curtiss St. is paved. The site also has one 4,700-square-foot building, with multiple garage doors. Most of the property is undeveloped.
The developed section of the lot is currently leased to multiple trucking companies, explained local developer Mark Lovley, a long-time Southington resident who is requesting the zoning change.
Lovley said neighbors of the property appear supportive of converting its use from industrial to residential, citing complaints of drivers leaving trucks running, or parked with a “raw sewage smell” emanating from them.
“There's quite a few trucks there now,” Lovley said.
Lovley didn't provide details on the proposed development, except to say in concept it includes single-family homes with a park in the center. His application for the change states extending the residential zone in that area “provides a better use of the property.”
Residences abut the site along its western boundary. A former railroad line, which Lovley said is being converted to a trail, sits on the eastern side of the property.
If the zoning change is approved, Lovley hopes to provide trail access from the property. He said if the zoning change is approved, and the proposed development moves forward, he would like to give about 30% of the land back to the town as open space.
Lovley doesn't own the site, which town records list as having multiple owners, including the Delahunty family, based out of Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Neighbors supported Lovley’s plan, saying the industrial uses next door didn’t fit with the surrounding residential areas
The town’s economic development coordinator Lou Perillo defended the zoning, saying the town needed industrial areas and that they contributed to the tax base while more housing would further burden town resources.
Commissioners said rezoning the land was a big step but said they sympathized with residents who had complaints about noise, fumes and other problems about the current tenant. The commission took no action Tuesday night.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the newly elected commission voted unanimously to choose Robert Hammersley as chairman, Robert Salka as vice chairman and Peter Santago as secretary.
The commission also appointed Jeffrey Gworek and James Macchio to fill the position of two commission members who ran successfully for Town Council.
Last July, Lovley received town approval to build a 15-unit 55-and-over housing development on South End Road. The developer said his proposal for Curtiss Street is partly a byproduct of that development, as the number of potential buyers for those homes exceeds the number of homes that will become available once that project is completed.