SOUTHINGTON — The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a self-storage facility on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike this week but not without opposition from some members.
Self storage developer J. R. Clisham received approval Tuesday for his plan to build a 60,000 square foot storage facility at 1588 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, just east of Clark Street.
Michael DelSanto, commission chairman and a Republican, supported approval along with all but two commission members. He cited a need for storage facilities, liked the look of the building and said it fit well with the area.
“This business going there is a clean business,” DelSanto said. “The look was good, the use was appropriate.”
There has been development on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike but “not as much as we’d like,” he said.
Town records show the property is still owned by the Crispino family. Clisham had the property under contract from the Crispino family. Clisham could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The 4-acre property includes a 5,500-square-foot building, built in 1940. Dennis Crispino’s limited liability company bought the property from the Calvanese family in 2011 for $450,000. The land was part of the Calvanese family’s nursery and landscaping business.
Crispino said the family, which owns the Superior group of companies, has been holding the land for potential expansion for years. It wasn’t on the market but Clisham made an offer for the property. Crispino said he wasn’t even aware of the development plan when they agreed to a contract. The purchase is contingent on Clisham receiving approval to build from the town.
Robert Hammersley, a Republican commission member, was joined by Democrat DagmaraScalise in opposing approval.
“I don’t think that it’s a proper place...,” Hammersley said. “I don’t think it’s the best use of that property.”
He preferred retail or office space uses along Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike and wanted storage facilities in industrial areas. Hammersley had no problems with the business itself, but said it was better suited elsewhere in town.
DelSanto said business growth has been slowed by the collapse of the W/S Development retail project in the north end of Cheshire. That would have drawn many more cars to the area and attracted businesses along route 322.
“That hurt a lot of the chances on 322,” DelSanto said.