Zone change approved for restaurant

The former Naugatuck train station on Water Street. -RA ARCHIVE

The former Naugatuck train station on Water Street. -RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — A plan to transform the former train station on Water Street into a casual dining restaurant has cleared some early land use hurdles.

The Zoning Commission and Planning Commission have both recently given their blessing to change the zone for the land at 195 Water St. from industrial to business to pave the way for the restaurant.

Jim Perzhilla, owner of Spartan II Pizza Restaurant & Lounge in Southington, and his partner, attorney Carlos Santos of the Naugatuck-based Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos & Sousa law firm, want to renovate the building into a restaurant called The Station.

Perzhilla and Santos have offered to purchase the building for $300,000. They would put $60,000 down and pay the remaining $240,000 in installments over four years, according to their proposal. They also plan to put $502,500 worth of upgrades into the building to turn it into a restaurant.

According to the zoning map, the land was originally split into two halves, with one designated as I-1 and the other as I-2.

Perzhilla and Santos requested that the entire 2.3 acre plot of land be designated as B-1.

Attorney Michael McVerry, who represented Perzhilla and Santos on their application for a zone change, said changing the zone allows for general commercial office development at sites with significant off-street parking, such as what is located at the train station.

“Going way back in time that whole stretch along the river was industrial. Where it is situated the industrial zone makes no sense, especially for this particular piece,” McVerry said during a public hearing on the change at the Zoning Commission’s Nov. 18 meeting.

The Planning Commission voted in favor of the change the night before, sending it to the Zoning Commission with a positive referral.

The Planning Commission original gave the request a negative referral, but only because it felt the map it did not adequately mark where the change would occur, commissioner Ray Krzykowsky said.

The Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve the zone change.

“I’m extremely happy they took that action. It is obviously the correct action,” Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese said.

Perzhilla and Santos must now submit site plans for the project. Once the plans are submitted they will have to be approved by land use boards.