By Lisa Capobianco
The Southington Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5 to 2 in approval of a proposal to change the industrial zone area of Wonx Spring Road to a residential zone.
After a public hearing during a recent Planning and Zoning meeting, the Commission approved the new plan of the 33-acre property, which manufacturing company Square D formerly owned. The new project, called Hunter’s Landing, is a 19-lot subdivision. All proposed residential property in the plan would be located outside the environmental land use area, said Engineer Stephen Giudice of Harry E. Cole & Son who represented the applicant.
The original site plan requested for a nine-lot industrial subdivision, which the commission approved last fall.
However, residents of Wonx Spring Road not in favor of the original plan filed a lawsuit after its approval, expressing concern over safety, traffic and quality of life. In January, Wonk Spring Road Partnership, LLC decided to change its development plan to meet the interests of the residents living in the neighborhood.
“We did come in with the subdivision industrial zone which was permitted, but that has not gone smoothly due to the residents concerned about how the development will affect their quality of life, and after a lot of deliberation, the applicant has decided to move forward in this direction,” Giudice said during the meeting. “In this situation, we think this is the best alternative for the town of Southington for the applicant and for the property owners.”
During the public hearing, Frank Punzo, a resident of Wonx Spring Road, spoke on behalf of residents in the neighborhood in favor of the new development plan. Punzo said changing the industrial zone to a residential zone addresses a variety of issues brought up by the neighborhood.
“This is a very emotional issue for all the residents involved,” Punzo said. “The proposal to rezone the property to residential is part of an agreement reached by the residents, the town of Southington and the developer—as part of this agreement, the northern portion of the property will be developed residential and the southern portion of the property will be preserved as open space.”
Although Vice Chairperson of Planning and Zoning Paul Chaplinsky voted in favor of the new proposal, he asked the commission to search for other parcels in town to make up for the lost acres of the industrial zone on Wonx Spring Road.
“This is a good reminder for us that we always need to be looking at the parcels in town and determine what is best for industrial and the residents and businesses,” Chaplinsky said. “I would like to see if there are other parcels that we can replace this industrial parcel with.”