SOUTHINGTON — Town leaders and a property owner are open to the sale of a corner lot in Plantsville downtown, but it’s unclear if both parties will agree to a deal.
Mark Zommer and his family own the property at the corner of West Main and South Main streets. It’s an empty lot next to Hop Haus, a building that’s been hit several times by cars traveling through the intersection.
The Police Department put up water-filled barriers between the building owned by Cheryl Moran and the intersection.
Chris Poulos, a town councilor and public works committee member, said he doesn’t like how those barriers look and wants another solution to accidents at the intersection.
Michael DelSanto, a town councilor and public works chairman, said he understood why protection for the building was requested.
“I don’t love the water-filled barriers that the building put up, but they’ve got to protect their building as well,” he said.
On Tuesday, public works committee members considered rumble strips for the downtown area.
Police Chief Jack Daly didn’t recommend them and said rumble strips can create noise problems for nearby residents and businesses.
Poulos said he still wants a way to keep cars from crashing into the Hop Haus building and plans to talk to the Zommer family about selling the property. That would give the town room to build a low wall, bollards or other features that could help deter motorists traveling west from driving off the road.
Public works committee members said there’s only so much the town can do to keep drunk or sleeping drivers from crashing.
“It’s not our problem,” said Sue Zoni, a committee and Board of Finance member. “We can’t help it,”
She said the Zommers have been unwilling to sell the property in the past or to allow improvements to be made on it.
Zommer, who also owns Zingarella Pizzeria in Plantsville, said he did receive an offer from Moran but that the two didn’t agree on a price. He said there have also been preliminary discussions with the town but that talks haven’t progressed.
“We’d be more than willing to sell it to them for a fair price,” he said Thursday.
Zommer is reluctant to make improvements to the land, he said, since he’s worried about the state taking the land by eminent domain to widen the intersection. He had plans 15 years ago for a building on the site but the plans never came to fruition.
“It’s kind of an entrance to the village,” Zommer said. “It should have something nice there, it should be some kind of public patio, somewhere where people can sit down and relax.”
Next spring, town officials expect to start a downtown safety and beautification project. Initial plans included a low wall at the corner but there was no room to build it except on Zommer’s property.
DelSanto said there were a lot of factors that would go into purchasing the corner lot. Until then the town would continue planning improvements without using the Zommer’s land.
“We don’t own that property on the corner,” he said. “If we did, we would have more options, but until we do we’re stuck with what we have.”