SOUTHINGTON — A local developer has proposed a 31-home age-restricted subdivision on Laning Street that includes affordable housing.
Since Southington doesn’t meet the state’s goals for affordable housing, developments that include units priced below the market sidestep many of the town’s zoning regulations. That could allow Frank Fragola, the property owner and a local businessman, to increase the number of homes on the Laning Street property.
Bryan Meccariello, an attorney representing Fragola, said the plans call for ranch-style homes that will be offered for between $350,000 and $375,000. Sizes will range from 1,700 to 2,000 square feet and the target demographic is empty nesters.
Fragola has been working to build housing on Laning Street for several years. Previous plans that included even more houses faced opposition from neighbors. Most recently, a request to tie into the town’s sewer system failed to pass the Town Council.
Meccariello said neighbors’ concerns have been taken into account in the latest plan submitted to the town. Housing density has also been reduced from 55 units to the current 31.
“I know it’s something that Southington needs,” Meccariello said of the 55-and-older community.
The town’s regulations on housing density would not allow as many units on the 11-acre parcel. Rather than battle to change existing regulations, Meccariello felt including affordable housing units was the better way to move forward with the project.
State statutes define affordable housing as rent or mortgage payments that consume no more than 30 percent of the average family’s income for the county.
Fragola said 30 percent of the houses will be affordable. Prices for some will be calculated on 60 percent of the area median income and others on 80 percent.
Town Planner Rob Philips said getting approval for a housing development with an affordable housing component is much different and leaves much less discretion in the hands of planners. The Planning and Zoning Commission can only deny such applications on certain criteria, such as public health and safety.
“In this case, the zoning regulations don’t apply,” Phillips said.
If the commission takes no action within 65 days of getting the application, it’s automatically approved. There’s no requirement for a public hearing, although Philips said the commission may hold one.
While the plans submitted by Fragola include a sewer hookup, the town hasn’t yet agreed to extend the sewer zone to include the developer’s property. His property lies outside the town’s sewer service area. Fragola offered to trade sewer hookup ability on land he owns inside the sewer service area in exchange for an extension on Laning Street but the proposal didn’t pass the Town Council.
Meccariello said there’ll be an arrangement with nearby Hawk’s Landing Country Club for a path and golf carts for residents of the development to ride to the course from their homes.
He’s already been contacted by residents interested in such homes.
“There have been a lot of who have reached out to us,” Meccariello said.