SOUTHINGTON – Town leaders are considering the purchase of two undeveloped properties totaling six acres near the entrance to Panthorn Park.
Buying the land would preserve the open area around the park entrance, preventing houses from being built on the two rear lots at 425 and 429 Burritt St.
The Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission are considering the purchase of both properties for a total of $350,000.
Paul Chaplinsky, a Town Council Republican and open space acquisition committee chairman, said it is a good opportunity to buy land adjacent to a town park before a developer.
“We’re very excited,” he said. “It’s really good for the town.”
Town officials estimate that a builder could fit at least five houses on the two parcels.
“We went through the (planning) process and they definitely could put a road in there and put a handful of houses in there,” Chaplinsky said.
The house on the corner of Burritt Street and the park entrance will remain with the landowners, the D’Agostino family – relatives of the town’s former police chief Philip D’Agostino. The family will keep the property with the house and is only selling the two parcels behind it.
Chaplinsky credited the family with giving the town an opportunity to buy the land.
“This is good for the town but it’s also recognition for the family that they wanted to keep it open space,” he said. “It think they’re giving us a fair opportunity given the fact that it could be developed.”
Chris Palmieri, a Town Council Democrat and an open space acquisition committee member, supported the purchase. Buying land near existing town parcels can be a major benefit, he said, referencing the Southington Drive-In land which when it was purchased was not part of the adjacent Recreation Park.
“Adding open space is beneficial to the town in many ways. Adding open space near existing town property offers even more opportunities,” Palmieri said.
The council plans to send the purchase to the planning commission for review. Improvements and the purchase of land requires planning review although there have been no objections from planners concerning purchases in the past several years.
After the commission gives a recommendation, the purchase will return to the council for final approval. Chaplinsky said that could happen as early as next month.