For the better part of the past decade, proposals for condominium developments in Southington have been met with concern and opposition. It seems that local developer Anthony Denorfia has found a way to buck that trend.
Denorfia last week unveiled plans for a downtown development along Liberty Street that would provide housing for active seniors and increase foot traffic in the central business district – and aside from a few drainage concerns, it appears Denorfia has the backing of local residents.
The Southington Planning and Zoning Commission has approved a special exception for the development, which will eventually be built along Liberty Street between Columbus Avenue and Center Street. Commissioner Jim Sinclair said it’s one of the most beneficial condominium proposals that the town has heard in years.
“It’s no secret that we, I, have had a history of beating up Tony (Denorfia) on downtown condos and for the first time, possibly ever, I am in approval of the idea,” he said.
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The new development is designed for active seniors with a target age range between 65-years-old and 70-years-old. It will consist of 22 specific units and will mimic the development at 24 Pratt St., Denorfia said last week, with a special 2,200 square foot space for business use that would become an office or small store, he said.
The most intriguing aspect of the plan is that it would provide additional tax base and almost no cost to the town and add parking to a crowded downtown area.
“We are Proposing 55 spaces, but would expect use 23 at any one time,” Denorfia said. “It wouldn’t put any strain on parking in the downtown area. In fact, it would be adding surplus parking to the area.”
The units also are not designed for families with children, Denorfia said, and at the cost would allow for additional taxpayers without adding to the school populations or without requiring much in terms of medical services.
Denorfia said the development was a concept presented to him by Bill McDougall, member of the Bread-4-Life board of directors. Denorfia said when he thought about the idea, he realized it was something that could be a good thing for everyone involved.
“I was having dinner with Bill McDougall and said ‘we need something downtown. I would love to live there and take advantage of amenities. Is one of things downtown is missing’,” he said. “It all developed from there.”
There are still concerns to be addressed in areas of drainage and in finalizing the parking plans before a site plan is approved, but local resident Jim Jones said he’s looking forward to see the new development in the downtown area.
“I think it’s an excellent proposal for the area and will fit in well downtown. This is something that could really benefit everyone,” Jones said.
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