NAUGATUCK — Borough officials want to attract businesses to the site of the former Prospect Street School and need to rezone the property before that can happen.
Rather than rezoning just that one parcel at 100 Prospect St., the borough is looking to create a special design district along the route, also known as Route 69, in an attempt to create uniform development in the area.
“Rather than changing a piece here or a piece there, we’re following the recommended plan and getting it done,” said Town Planner Sue Goggin, who is also the wetlands enforcement officer and zoning enforcement officer.
The plan she is referencing is the 2013 Plan of Conservation and Development, which calls for creating arterial corridors, or roads leading to the center of the borough that are lined with a mix of commercial activity, some small-scale industrial and office uses, and multifamily residential units. The borough has already created special design districts on Rubber Avenue and New Haven Road to have more uniform development in the future. Once the Prospect Street Design District is created, any plans brought before the land use boards need to adhere to what will be spelled out in the design district.
The land use office has sent out 600 letters via certified mail to people who live on Prospect Street and abutters who may be affected by the proposal, notifying them of a hearing on the proposal slated for Wednesday night. On Wednesday, anyone who wants to learn more about the plan is invited to a hearing before the Planning Commission at 6:15 p.m. at Naugatuck Town Hall.
Goggin said several people have had questions and concerns about the proposal.
“Once they realize they are not going to have to move their businesses out or relocate their homes, they are usually pleased,” she said.
The process of creating a design district can take several months, Goggin said. Commissioners can make recommendations for the design district, but the plan usually ends up being similar to what the Plan of Conservation and Development states. It reads “special design districts on arterial corridors may include strip commercial centers, plazas and other mixed-use developments.” The buildings should typically be one- to two-stories high with uses separated by landscaping and parking.
Bill Stopper, chairman of the Zoning Commission, said the arterial corridors in Naugatuck currently are a jumbled mix of buildings. Most of the properties predate zoning regulations.
He hopes the public comes out Wednesday to learn more about the plan.
Ron Pugliese, CEO and president of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation, said the borough is exploring three different proposals for reuse of Prospect Street School.
“There are some land use changes that would need to be made to get any kind of commercial development at Prospect Street School,” he said, “and this proposed design district is getting that done.”