NAUGATUCK — Residents once again spoke out against a proposed plan to create a business district along Prospect Street.
“My opinion on what you should do with that plan for the development district is to tear the thing up. We don’t need it. We don’t want it. It is not required,” Pat Scully, who is a burgess, lives off of Prospect Street and owns property on the street, told the Zoning Commission July 15 during a continued public hearing on the proposal.
The commission is considering the creation of a special design district along Prospect Street, from the Naugatuck-Prospect border to Route 8, to spur development.
The proposed sale of the former Prospect Street School set off the idea to create the design district. The borough’s Plan of Conservation and Development also recommends rezoning the corridor along Prospect Street, including the school.
The proposed Prospect Street Special Design District would allow property to be used for residences, residential offices, high intensity and high density commercial offices, neighborhood-oriented commercial uses, low intensity commercial uses and light industrial. It would prohibit earth excavation operations and adult entertainment.
Scully said residents on the street want it to remain residential. He pointed to the roughly 50 people who turned out to the commission’s meeting last month to speak against the proposal.
“That’s a residential street and we like it the way it is. A majority of us came in and stated we don’t like this plan,” Scully said.
Scully added he didn’t want to see his neighbor’s property become a business while his remained residential.
“Don’t change everything to a special district where, tomorrow, my next door neighbor decides to sell his house and wants to sell it as a business; he can sell it as a business. In essence, my residential property just got shafted. It’s not fair to me. I have a lot of money invested in those properties,” Scully said.
Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Ron Pugliese said his main concern is ensuring the former Prospect Street School building is sold.
“My main goal here on Prospect Street is to sell the Prospect Street School. We are making every effort to sell,” Pugliese said.
Pugliese said he’s in favor of the proposed business district, but felt those against it have legitimate concerns.
“Do I support this Prospect Street corridor? Yes I do. I think it is a very good idea. But I think the questions being asked and the concerns being raised are legitimate concerns,” Pugliese said.
Kristan Tulp, who lives off of Prospect Street, said the borough should focus its attention on other areas of town.
“When there are so many vacant properties in Naugatuck, when so much of that tax base is available for development, why create a new zone? We can’t fill what we have, so now is perhaps not the time to create a new zone,” Tulp said.
Tulp recommended scrapping the plan until it’s necessary.
“I think this should be destroyed. And we should talk about it again when we are a thriving town and we are in need of new development space. But not until that time,” Tulp said.
Some members of the commission voiced concerns about the proposed district, as well.
Commissioner April Slauson, who lives off of Prospect Street, said her main concern is that the proposal requires sidewalks to be put in along the road. Slauson said there are creeks and hills along the side of the road that would make installing sidewalks impossible.
“Route 68, to me, is not a corridor where people are going to be walking up and down the street. It’s a state road,” Slauson said. “Making anybody who wants to change their current business or put in something put in sidewalks is a little bit of a hardship. And it’s not going to look right because you are going to have houses that have been there for years that don’t have a sidewalk.”
The commission continued the hearing until its meeting Aug. 19.