SOUTHINGTON — Town planners approved an open space subdivison off West Street despite opposition from neighbors. Planners said there was value for the town in a housing plan that retained undisturbed land rather than development that consumes the entire property.
Local developer Mark Lovley requested town approval for an open space preservation subdivision on a 50-acre parcel at 1268 West St. He said the design, which calls for smaller lots, will allow him to keep 12 acres as open space. A conventional subdivision layout would only preserve about two acres of open space.
Lovley’s plan is for 30 homes.
The property is a long stretch parallel to Churchill Street with a small portion of West Street frontage. The homes would feature four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, two or three car garages and 2,500 to 3,000 square feet. Lovley said the houses will start at $600,000. Conventional versusopen space
During Tuesday night’s meeting, Peter Santago, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, asked Lovely why he chose the open space as opposed to a conventional subdivision. The conventional plan would have yielded the same number of houses but would have been an easier approval process. A
conventional plan would have larger lots and would include very little undisturbed land.
“You’re getting the same number of houses, and we get a lot of open space,” Santago said of the proposed development.
Lovely said his recent subdivisions in town have all included open space.
“The last five developments I’ve done in town, we’ve saved over 200 acres of open space doing this type of application,” he said. “That’s the reason for doing this, to save more open space.”
Theresa Albanese, a planning commission member, said a conventional subdivision would have a much bigger impact on wildlife.
“It’s kind of a win win I think,” she said of the open space plan.Neighbors’ opposition
While some neighbors who spoke during Tuesday’s meeting said they preferred the open space plan to one that used the entire parcel for housing, most still objected to homes on the property.
Many had concerns about traffic since the subdivision would use Churchill Street for access to West Street.
A host of smaller roads also depend on Churchill Street for access to the rest of the town.
Amy Cooper, a Brothers Way resident, said the road is narrow during normal times and gets more narrow during the winter.
“I don’t know how you’re going to fit buses when there’s all these other cars,” she said.
The planning commission closed the public hearing on the subdivision Tuesday but didn’t take a vote on the project by press time.