SOUTHINGTON — Whether or not to buy land rights for the 100-acre Southington Country Club will be decided by town voters during a Tuesday referendum.
Voting on the $4.5 million purchase, designed to prevent housing development and preserve open golf course land, will take place at Derynoski School, 240 Main St., from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Town leaders proposed a contract with Southington Country Club, a Savage Street golf course whose owners include Raymond Kastner, Joseph Calvanese Jr. and Christopher Calvanese.
If the sale is approved, the Kastner and Calvanese families would remain owners of the golf course but would lose the ability to build houses on the nearly 100-acre property. Owners have approval to build more than 100 homes on the golf course.
Under the proposed contract, any future owners of the property would be prevented from using the land for anything other than recreational purposes such as golf. Owners would also be prevented from subdividing the land. The contract allows the property owners to make improvements to the golf course, if they wish.
There’s no requirement to keep the golf course in operation.
Town officials have backed the plan, saying the costs associated with 100 more families in town would over the years exceed the $4.5 million. They’ve also talked about the benefits of undeveloped space for residents and wildlife.
Town Council Chairwoman Victoria Triano, a Republican, said she hopes residents would vote in favor of a “legacy of open space.”
“People have to understand that this is one of the most important votes they’ll ever make in the town of Southington,” she said. “This large parcel of land has an impact in every single level of our community. It affects our schools, it affects our police and fire departments, it affects the infrastructure of our community.”
There’s also no doubt that if the town doesn’t buy development rights, houses will be built at Southington Country Club.
“There are already approved plans for development,” Triano said.
Town leaders have been meeting with civic groups and residents urging a “yes” vote for the referendum.
“We’ve done presentations with Unico, the Sons of Italy,” said Paul Chaplinsky, a town council member. “I think we’re covering a lot of bases.”