SOUTHINGTON — Town planners approved a development rights purchase for Karabin Farms, a move that would prevent houses or other construction on the agricultural land.
If the $800,000 purchase is approved by the Town Council, it’ll bring the total number of acres preserved as open space or bought outright by the town in the last year to almost 100 acres.
“It’s been a lightning round of open space and preservation we’ve accomplished,” said Robert Hammersley, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission unanimously approved the development rights purchase on Tuesday night.
Under the proposal, the town would pay of $397,993 of the $795,986 price tag for the rights to keep the 47.9 acre farm protected as farmland or open space.
The state would pay the remaining amount under a farm preservation program. If approved, the Karabin family would continue to own the property but can't sell it to developers.
Town officials thanked the Karabin family for working with the town and state to preserve their farm rather than sell it to a homebuilder.
“It’s been a long time coming but I think it’s something the town really needs to do,” said Bob Salka, a commission member.
More demand for drive-through
During Tuesday’s meeting, owners of the Dunkin’ at 1825 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike proposed a redesign of the restaurant’s drive-thru to accommodate more customers and speed orders.
Jim Cassidy, a professional engineer representing the franchise location, said the pandemic and power outages have resulted in many more customers using the drive-through than originally expected. The Dunkin’ location was rebuilt last November with a regular drive-through and an “on the go” lane for picking up orders.
Those lanes have at times backed up into the shared driveway with the adjacent cinema and even onto Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Cassidy said.
“The drive-through is not functioning well,” he said.
Cassidy proposed plans that will expand drive-through lanes into the back of the property, adding room for 10 to 12 more cars. There’s also more menu boards, an additional lane and a “prepay hut” to take payments before cars reach the restaurant.
The commission took no action on the proposal Tuesday. Jim Grappone, the town engineer, had concerns about the number of driveways in and around the site and wanted time to discuss his suggestions with Cassidy for improving traffic flow.