PZC passes 8-24 site plans for rail-trail restrooms

The Milldale Train Depot parcel is one of two proposed sites for public restrooms on the Southington rail-trail approved by town boards.

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

The Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) unanimously approved the 8-24 planning procedure, along with site plans, for two restrooms along the linear trail during their June 6 meeting, and Town Council agreed. Town officials have been addressing the idea for restrooms and plans are finally approved.

In Southington, there are “four miles of trail, and not one public restroom,” Town Attorney Mark Sciota said to the zoning commission.

Officials proposed bathrooms in two locations along the trail. The first proposed site is the Goat Island parcel off of E. Summer Street, and the second location is the Train Depot parcel on Canal Street. The 8-24 procedure required Town Council approval, followed by PZC approval, and then back to the council for final approval.

Prior to the vote, Sciota told the PZC they were not making a decision about starting the project because that will require a financial decision made by the council. The vote was simply to approve the plans.

During the PZC meeting, assistant town engineer James Grappone presented site plans before the commission.

According to his presentation, the proposed Canal Street facility will be 1,500 feet north of the Cheshire town line and will sit 50 feet away from road and residential property. Grappone said that water and sewer lines are already in place.

“They serviced the old train station depot and were capped, so we are going to reutilize them,” he said. The building will have two single-user restrooms with a men’s and women’s entrance, in addition to a service entrance in back for utilities.

Canal Street site plan: Milldale Train Station Restroom Facility

The proposed Goat Island facility will be in a more wooded area, sitting 105 feet from the trail and residential property. Sciota said the town had sights set for restrooms at this location for a long time.

“Goat Island has always been on our radar, probably since we got it,” said Sciota.

If built, the facility will have no wetlands disturbance, which was approved by a wetlands agent, Grappone said.

Goat Island site plans: Goat Island Restroom Facility 1 of 2

Goat Island Restroom Facility 2 of 2

While the vote was not for spending money or beginning the project right away, some councilors voiced concern during the discussion. During the council meeting on Monday night, Chris Palmieri (D), John Barry (D) and Tom Lombardi (R) voted against the 8-24 plans for both Goat Island and the Train Depot restrooms.

“If we have savings in the budget five years from now, maybe we can revisit this,” Lombardi said. “From all the comments mixed together tonight, this is a perfect example. Although it’s small dollar amounts, it’s the concept that I am focusing on here.”

The motion passed for Goat Island, 5-3, with Councilor Ed Pocock III (R) abstaining since he owns property that abuts the parcel. The motion for the train depot plan passed, 6-3.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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