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Business owners clash with Southington leaders over state subsidies

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SOUTHANTON — A local business owner denied a grant to develop industrial land, saying he was targeted because of his son’s political affiliation.

Kurt Holyst, owner of HQ Dumpsters & Recycling, has purchased 22 acres between Curtiss Street and Lazy Lane and plans to build an industrial subdivision designed to bring business to the area. He is the father of Jack Perry, a Democratic town councilor and owner of HQ Dumpsters.

Republicans have a majority in the city council.

Hollist expected a Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant of approximately $500,000. Even town officials were considering spending $100,000 on it.

Hollist said it was a good plan to bring the tax-paying business into town and make productive use of the land.

“But for political reasons, this was shot down, because the individuals in the majority here didn’t want to see it pass because of who the owner was,” Hollist said. said at a council meeting on Monday.

Republican congressman Michael DelSanto, chairman of the economic strike committee, said Holist’s garbage-hauling business did not address the violations. DelSanto, former chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said planners would not even consider applications from people with active violations. Recommending subsidies and possibly town funds to industrial subdivision projects is unacceptable to Republican leaders if Holist’s business is violated, Del Santo said.

“These are not just violations. had it been on track and there had been no violations, we would definitely have recommended him to apply for a STEAP grant…if he committed violations at other properties in town. How can we justify supporting this when there is?”

Initial support

In July, the town’s economic development subcommittee voted unanimously in favor of applying for a STEAP grant to Holyst. Subcommittee member Perry abstained from voting.

To be eligible for the grant, Delsanto said the project had to be “shovel ready,” with an August 15 deadline. He submitted the proposal to the leaders of the Republican Council and proposed a special council meeting for a vote to set a deadline.

At that time, Del Santo and town council president and Republican Victoria Triano said they learned of the violation from city planning staff.

“It had nothing to do with politics. It was purely a (violation), we couldn’t do it,” Triano said.

With no recommendation from town leaders to support Hollist’s proposal for state grants, Del Santo said the deadline had passed and the grant had expired.

Del Santo was enthusiastic about the idea of ​​industrial subdivision, but was disappointed to learn of the violation. He agreed with Republican leaders that the town could not give money or apply for state grants to openly violating business owners.

“I was disappointed, but totally understandable,” Del Santo said. “We didn’t want to be in a situation where zoning violations rewarded businesses in the town.”

Triano Drive

On Tuesday, the day after the council meeting, Hollist said the violation was minor and reiterated his belief that his family was being targeted because of Perry’s role on the council and his political party. Perry, a Democrat in the first term of office, clashed with Republicans over many issues during the conference.

Both violations relate to the Triano Drive transfer station at headquarters. One of his violations, Hollist said, is damage to town-mandated fence trees and shrubs. Berms and plantings protect neighbors from carrier manipulation. He has since replanted the screening, but said no one has returned from town to verify it.

Another problem was the reclamation of wetlands during the expansion work at the headquarters. Hollist said he was willing to excavate the area or create a larger wetland as compensation, but has yet to reach a decision with his engineers and city planners.

“We’re dealing with it, we’re working on it,” he said of the violation. “I never hid anything.”

Perry, who runs a garbage truck business with his father, said he avoids contact with town officials.

“I don’t want town officials looking at me and thinking I have to do something because I’m an elected official,” he said.

Perry said he and his father had walked the Curtiss Street grounds two years earlier, but hadn’t heard anything about Hollist’s purchase of it until the morning of the Economic Strike Committee meeting. He said Hollist deliberately kept him ignorant of the town-related transactions in order to avoid conflict.

However, that doesn’t mean HQ Dumpsters aren’t in the public eye.

“My father suffers because I’m a Democrat on the council,” Perry said.

He said he was not aware of the town’s violations, adding that others at the company were handling aspects of that business.

land of curtis street

Lou Perillo, the town’s economic development coordinator, said previous Curtis Street proposals were derailed by soaring construction costs.

Local property owner Richard Manson proposed an industrial subdivision of the property, which was approved by the Planning Commission in November. However, Manson did not take the necessary steps to build the roads and other infrastructure needed for the subdivision.

“Diesel prices literally doubled from when he started zoning to when he submitted to zoning,” Perillo said. “Asphalt prices have become astronomical.”

Perillo said another industrial block on West Queen Street went bankrupt for the same reason.

Local homebuilder Mark Lovley tried to rezoning the land for a residential subdivision in 2020, but was unable to get city planning approval.

Developers like Manson build the subdivision infrastructure and attract companies to fill individual lots.

When Manson backed off, Perillo said he suggested Holist take over the project and apply for state grants.

Despite missing the grant, Hollist said he would still buy the property because he was committed to doing so.Members of the Delahanty family own the land.

Hollist said he expects businesses such as landscapers, but with the town’s help, he could have gotten larger tenants who were paying more taxes.

jbuchanan@record-journal.com203-317-2230Twitter: @JBucchananRJ