The zoning board voted against approving a three-month moratorium on special exceptions in Middletown’s MX or mixed use zones at Wednesday night’s meeting.
A moratorium would have been established through a text amendment to the city’s Zoning Code. The proposed amendment failed by a vote of 5-2. Commissioners Steven Devoto and Elizabeth Emery voted in favor of the amendment.
Chairman Daniel Russo and Vice Chairwoman Molly Salafia voiced their opposition to a moratorium during the commission’s discussion of the amendment. Russo, who acknowledged that he was originally in favor of a moratorium, said that it would be more efficient for the commission to review special exceptions as part of its regular schedule, and that doing so would allow the public to have a better understanding of the commission’s decisions. Salafia said that a moratorium would have a negative effect on construction in the city, and that it would be superfluous because the commission can discuss special exemptions as part of its regular schedule.
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jeff Pugliese also spoke out against the amendment on behalf of the Chamber, saying that a moratorium would stifle economic development throughout Middletown.
Before the final vote, newly approved commissioner Vincent Szynkowicz read a brief statement from city resident W. Lee Osborne about his opposition to the amendment. Osborne said that a moratorium was not necessary and could possibly invite legislation against development.
Devoto was the lone commissioner who spoke out in support of the amendment. He said that a moratorium would give confidence to developers and focus attention on each exemption.
The MX zone is located throughout the city, but is mostly concentrated in and around downtown. There are sections of mixed-use property along Washington and South Main Streets, Broad Street and North Main Street. Outside of downtown, MX zones can be found along Newfield Street, near Connecticut Valley Hospital and off Saybrook Road.