NAUGATUCK — Land use officials want to make sure the borough’s zoning regulations invite businesses rather than scare them away.
“If this town is going to grow, if we are going to reduce our tax base, we have to become more business friendly,” Zoning Commission Chairman Wayne Malicki said.
The commission has created a subcommittee to review the zoning regulations and make recommendations of possible changes to ensure companies have an easier time doing business in the borough.
The subcommittee is made up of Malicki, Zoning Commission member Eileen Bronko, Town Planner and Wetlands Enforcement Officer Lori Rotella, Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Carter, Midstate Development owner Gary Vatello, and Roland Desrosiers, owner of the surveying company R J Desrosiers Associates.
Malicki said the subcommittee will bring in new members as time goes on to ensure it has opinions from a variety of people.
“We want to see is there a way we can reduce some of the paper work and some of the time and some of the expense a builder has to go through in order to develop a piece of property,” Malicki said.
To begin with, the subcommittee has its sights set on Rubber Avenue. Specifically, the public works and parks and recreation buildings, and the recycling center.
Carter said these properties came with deed restrictions requiring that could only be used as borough property when Naugatuck acquired them from Lanxess, formerly Chemtura.
Even though that section of road is zoned as the Rubber Avenue Design District, which allows a mixture of commercial and residential, the borough cannot sell the property or utilize it for anything beyond what it is being used as now, Carter said.
Malicki said Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess is currently negotiating with Lanxess to have those deed restrictions removed.
If the restrictions are removed, that would suddenly give the borough the ability to market the parcels of land that are along a well-traveled road and close to downtown, Malicki said.
Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ronald Pugliese said he is happy any time regulations are made more business friendly.
“I am always in favor of more business friendly regulations, whether they come from the Zoning Commission or from the state,” Pugliese said.
Pugliese said he wasn’t going to give the commission any recommendations unless he was asked for them.
Pugliese said he feels that, in general, Naugatuck has become a positive place for companies to do business and updating the zoning regulations can only help.
“For the most part I think the Zoning Commission and the planning department do a very good job of trying to help businesses. There are some of the older regulations that have to be looked at,” Pugliese said.