MERIDEN — The City Council approved two measures this past week that would allow garden-type multiple family apartments on several north end parcels.
The council voted on a resolution to amend its zoning regulations to allow apartments in an R-2 zone. R-2 zones currently only allow one, two and three-family homes. The resolution passed unanimously.
Another motion that would allow a zone change from R-1 to R-2 for 1444 N. Broad St., 1460 N.Broad St. and 18, 29, 30, 36, and 40 Lirot Ct. passed 8-2, with City Councilor Joseph Carabetta III abstaining. Councilors Sonja Jelks and Bruce Fontanella opposed the map change.
Carabetta did not vote on the matter because of his ties to the Carabetta Company, which is proposing building 25 garden-style units on the parcels. Joseph Carabetta presented the request last winter but shelved it to allow for more time for the zone change.
The proposal generated some oppostiion among neighbors in the area who feared more traffic in the neighborhood. Planning Commission alternate Jack Brooks said the apartments would go against the city’s Plan of Conservation and Development’s vision for single-family neighborhoods.
“We do need development,” Brooks said in February. “This isn’t the location. It’s inappropriate.”
But the Planning Commission approved the use in an R-2 zone because “it found the regulation consistent with several housing goals and objectives listed in the Plan of Conservation and Development and is consistent with the purpose of the R-2 Zone.
City Planner Robert Seale said the development is consistent with the development plan especially the feature that offers a variety of housing types in the city.
“Most projects have some form of opposition,” said Seale said. “The city has to weigh what is the benefit to the neighborhood, the benefit to the region of the city and the benefit to the city overall? I like the idea of creating communities in the R-2.”
The zone change came with some stipulations: the lot coverage shall not exceed 40 percent of the total land area, there shall be a maximum of six dwelling units in a single structure, with a density of no greater than one unit for every 5,000 square feet of lot area, and minimum requirements for setbacks from streets and property lines.
Garden style apartments are those that have a serene, well-vegetated landscape. It allows for townhouses but doesn’t dictate townhouses, Seale said. The Carabetta renderings showed townhouse style apartments, similar to Quinnipiac Village and Westfield Glen.
“I anticipate (Carabetta) starting to put in resources to bring a full-blown plan before us,” Seale said.
Joseph Carabetta Jr. could not be reached for comment but attended Monday’s City Council vote.