Southington planners approve subdivision, new Dunkin’, delay Laning Street decision

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SOUTHINGTON — Town planners approved a small subdivision on Welch Road, continued another subdivision application to a sixth meeting and voted in favor of a rebuild of the Plantsville Dunkin’ Donuts.

The Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday voted in favor of a six-lot subdivision off Welch Road requested by local developer Mark Lovley. It’s adjacent to the builder’s 100-home North Ridge Estates.

Neighbors, mostly North Ridge Estate residents, raised objections to more homes being built on Welch Road and voiced frustration with Lovley for not building a promised golf course for the housing development. Lovley said two of the six lots in the subdivision will be used for the golf course and that the course has been delayed by the pandemic, permitting and financing.

The four houses planned for the subdivision will help raise money to build the course, Lovley said.

The commission said the subdivision application met the town’s requirements, obliging the commission to approve it despite neighbors’ frustrations. Bob Hammersley, the commission chairman, told neighbors that their dissatisfaction with Lovley over the golf course couldn’t be a factor in the commission’s decision on the subdivision.

New Dunkin’ for Plantsville

During Tuesday’s meeting the commission also approved a site plan for a new Dunkin’ Donuts location at 756 Main St. The current restaurant doesn’t have a drive-through and the redesign would add that feature.

Hammersley said restaurants such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have been emphasizing drive through service. The Starbucks location on Queen Street might add drive-through and a Dunkin’ on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike was changed to allow cars to move through the drive-through more efficiently.

The redesign helped traffic backup on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike.

“I would hope that this one (Plantsville) has a similar outcome as well,” Hammersley said.

It’s unclear when construction might begin. A call to Great American Donut, the franchise that owns the Plantsville location, wasn’t returned Wednesday.

Another meeting for Laning Street

The commission closed a public hearing Tuesday that’s been open for months on a Laning Street affordable housing subdivision.

Local business owner Frank Fragola wants to build a 30-unit age-restricted housing development. Some of the units would qualify as affordable under state statute. Since the town doesn't meet the state's goal of having 10 percent of its housing stock priced as affordable, Southington officials can only reject affordable housing developments based on public health and safety.

Bryan Meccariello, Fragola’s attorney, expressed frustration with the number of meetings on the application.

“This is the fifth public hearing,” he said.

Commission members again spoke about their safety concerns based on traffic in the area and the lack of a second entrance and exit to the property. Meccariello said he’d modified the site plan to include an emergency exit to an adjacent church parking lot but the change didn’t seem to satisfy commission members’ fears about the case of an accident or fire that closed the Laning Street entrance.

The commission hired attorney Chris Smith, a land use attorney, to help guide them on the Laning Street project. Hammersley said he’ll write up draft proposals for approving the plan, approving it with stipulations and denying it. That’ll give the commission options to discuss at its next meeting in July when it could vote on the plan.

Neighbors attended the commission meeting on Tuesday and again voiced opposition to the project based on traffic and road safety.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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