Southington planning commissioners express doubts about Laning Street project

reporter photo

SOUTHINGTON — Town planners expressed worry about the safety of motorists on Laning Street, the site of a proposed 30-unit senior housing development.

Local business owner and developer Frank Fragola wants to build homes at 295 Laning St., some of which would qualify as affordable, according to state statute.

Towns can only reject affordable housing plans based on threats to public health or safety.

Peter Santago, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, said portions of Laning Street, such as the intersection with Queen Street, were dangerous and become even more so during the winter or other adverse weather.

He had doubts about traffic studies conducted by traffic experts hired by Fragola.

“A fender bender may seem minor until it happens to you,” Santago said during a PZC meeting Tuesday night. 

Bryan Meccariello, an attorney representing Fragola, had several planning experts testify during Tuesday’s meeting that the addition of age-restricted housing on Laning Street would result in minimal increased traffic.

Senior households generate fewer trips per day than others, experts told town planners, and there’s no pattern of serious crashes on the road.

Several town planners who spoke during Tuesday’s meeting still had doubts.

“I’m not convinced that this road is totally safe for this development,” said Susan Locks, a commission member.

Neighbors who spoke at Tuesday’s public hearing had similar worries about increased traffic.

Fragola has been trying to develop the Laning Street property for years. Previous iterations of the plan included extending the town’s sewer system to the 11-acre parcel.

The current plan  calls for the 15 duplexes with private septic systems.

The duplexes will be a mix of one and two bedrooms.

The Town Council in 2019 rejected Fragola’s request to extend town sewers to the property, allowing for more homes to be built.

Meccariello said there’ll be an increasing need for senior housing in upcoming years.

The development is adjacent to Hawk’s Landing Country Club and residents will be able to access the golf course via a cart path.

The commission will take up the application again at its June meeting.

No decision was made on Tuesday night.

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

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