SOUTHINGTON – Town planners this week denied a proposal to build up to 30 houses on industrial land off Curtiss Street.
Neighbors had been in support of local developer Mark Lovley’s plan to rezone the area. They complained that the truck and industrial storage currently on the property is a nuisance.
The Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5 to 2 Tuesday night to keep the land industrial. Commission members said allowing for more residential development sets a bad precedent for other industrial land in town.
“Once we turn this from (industrial) to (residential), a precedent gets set,” said James Macchio, a commission member.
The commission considered the proposal at its previous meeting and asked Lovley to bring plans that only rezoned a portion of the 136 Curtiss St. land to allow for age-restricted housing. Lovley presented two plans Tuesday that left most of the property industrial, but those proposals didn’t convince the majority of commissioners to allow housing.
“I’m reluctant to give up an (industrial) zone at this point,” commission member Robert Salka said.
Lou Perillo, the town’s economic development coordinator, opposed the rezoning. He said the town’s plans include limiting residential growth and encouraging industrial uses. Perillo was also worried about other developers looking to rezone industrial land to build houses.
The commission on Tuesday also heard a plan from developers looking to build a 30-unit apartment building in the middle of a residential block bordered by Liberty Street, Eden Avenue, Columbus Avenue and Bristol Street. The plan includes apartments meeting the state’s affordable designation, leaving the town with fewer options for denying the developers.
Hunter Build LLC proposed the apartments in Southington’s downtown.
The formula for determining affordable apartments is calculated based on the area median income and the guideline that families shouldn't spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
The Hartford metro median income for 2019 was $97,000 for families.
Nine of the 30 units will be rented at below-market rates to families making no more than 60 to 80 percent of the median income. Below-rate rent would range from a maximum of $1,019 for a one bedroom to a maximum of $1,514 for a two-bedroom.
Chris Smith, representing Hunter Build LLC, said many of the town and Board of Education’s employees would qualify for such housing.
“It’s not section 8 housing,” he said.
The commission tabled the Hunter Build application and will take it up at a future meeting.