Borough seeking to expand design district

NAUGATUCK — The borough is looking to fold another portion of South Main Street into the New Haven Road Design District.

The Zoning Commission this month accepted an application from the borough to change a portion of South Main Street from RA-1, a residential zone, to the design district.

The tenth of a mile section would run from the former Little Red Schoolhouse of Safety, 529 South Main St., to the former Club Comedy, 585 South Main St., and include seven properties.

The property directly across the street is part of the design district.

Town Planner and Zoning Enforcement Officer Sue Goggin said the impetus for the change came about because someone is interested in the former DeCarlo’s Thrifty Cleaners and Formal Wear building at 535 South Main St.

DeCarlo’s operated for 65 years before closing in January 2016.

Since the land is zoned as residential, Goggin said a commercial business would not be allowed to operate there. The New Haven Road Design District allows a mix of uses, including commercial, single-family homes, and two-family homes. The seven properties all fall under one of those uses.

Borough Attorney Ned Fitzpatrick, who helped the borough create the design district, said at the time the borough chose to leave that section of South Main Street zoned RA-1 because there were so many different uses on those seven properties. However, he believed this would be the best time to make the change.

“It seems like a smart policy, as things are evolving on New Haven Road and downtown, to make this all NHRDD. It allows all those uses that are currently there to be valid and it allows for the expansion of other uses,” Fitzpatrick said.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed zone change during its regular meeting in June.