Apartment buildings proposed at former Canton Barn site
By John Fitts
CANTON – A Simsbury company is proposing a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments in three buildings at the former Canton Barn site on Old Canton Road.
Simsbury Capital Partners has proposed tearing down the current 5,000 square foot building at 75 Old Canton Road and constructing three multi-family buildings on the 2.1-acre property, according to an application filed with the town of Canton.
Proposed are a total of with a total of 55 units, 29 one-bedroom unit and 26 two-bedroom. Sidewalks are proposed for the interior of the property, as well as along Old Canton Road and connecting to Canton Village shopping center. A mix of interior and exterior parking is proposed.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will likely hold a public hearing on the proposal the evening of Nov. 16. With the site located in the Canton Village Design Village District under the town’s form–based code, much of the site plan approval is considered administrative in nature – as along as the application meets the regulations. However, a special permit is required for earthwork and grading due to the proposed removal of more than 2,000 cubic yards (removal of 10,000 cubic yards is proposed) triggering the public hearing, which is slated for Nov. 16.
While other developers have eyed the site for other uses - including a brewery, retail and restaurant - in the past few years, it has been identified in the town's Plan of Conservation and Development as an area with potential for high density residential, according to the application. To the west of the property are the Canton Village condominiums, while the former IGA market is to the south, the application notes, while single family homes sit to the south and east. The canton village shopping center is approximately 150 feet to the east.
“The design professionals working on this project [have] worked cooperatively with town staff to determine an appropriate building and design and make numerous improvements to existing site conditions,” according to the application material field by Simsbury based Landscape Architectural Design Associates. “Overall the project results in the infill and redevelopments of an existing underutilized site, in an area accessible by infrastructure and not inundated with development constraints. The proposed development and use are consistent with the strategies represented in the POCD, and the subsequent publication direction for the area, derived through public charrette that led to the development of the Canton Village Design District.”
The site location is, of course, most known as the home of Canton Barn, which operated Saturday night auctions for decades. Auctioneer Richard E. Wacht ran the auctions in recent years, having taken the reins from his father John in the 1960s. Richard Wacht was known for his crazy antics and dry sense of humor on the auction stage until he retired and the business closed in 2019. Just as famously, Canton Barn was known for the pies baked by Wacht’s businesses partner and ex-wife, Susan Wacht Goralski, who took over that tradition originally started by Richard Wacht’s mother.
(This story will be updated with more details. Additionally, we will add a link to the electronic application materials once they are posted online).