Zoning Commission Approves Special Exceptions for Big Y

Big Y is one step closer to gaining town approval for a new store location in Simsbury's north end.

The Simsbury Zoning Commission voted unanimously Monday night to approve some special exceptions for the appication to build a new Big Y supermarket in the town's north end.

Before the town can move forward with the approval of the proposed development of the former Wagner Ford property on Hopmeadow Street into a new Big Y supermarket, exceptions to the town's zoning ordinances were needed.  The exceptions include an increase in the site coverage area, a request to change the length of some of the proposed parking spaces, and approval of a supermarket in B-2 zone.

The town ordinances, available on the town of Simsbury website, read as follows:

Article Eight, Section A (8)

  • The Zoning Commission may, after notice and public hearing, grant a special exception to allow up to 50 percent increase to the maximum coverage allowed in any zone. The Commission shall require a site plan prepared in accordance with Article Five, Section J and other information it deems necessary. In evaluating the request for special exception, the Commission shall consider the standards set forth in Article Seven, Section C, Number 8.

Article Ten, Section E (5a, 5b)

  • The Zoning Commission may, after public notice and hearing, grant a Special Exception to the "Off-Street Parking Regulations" to:
    a.    Decrease the number of parking spaces required up to 50 percent by creating a future reserve parking area shown on the site plan, or
    b.    Reduce the required dimensions of the individual parking space on up to 50 percent of the required spaces,

The addition of a new supermarket in Simsbury has been a cause for much discussion within the community since the plans were first announced by Big Y, an independently owned New England supermarket chain, in June.

Consideration of the exceptions to the town's zoning ordinances followed a recent Planning Commission public hearing where residents spoke out in favor and against the development of the Wagner property by Big Y.

Before approving the special exceptions Monday night, commission member William Fiske raised a question about the types of lighting that would be used on the property.

Hirem Peck, the town's Director of Planning and Community Development, explained that the development would use two types of lighting. The parking area and general site lot would use box lighting and the roadway in front of the plaza would use accent lighting consistent with other main street lighting in town.

Another question was raised about what other plans were in place should the Big Y project not gain approval.

"You really need to look at what's in front of you, not what might come down the road," Peck said.

Some residents have voiced concern that the addition of a large supermarket in the town's north end would not fit the town's vision for the area. The Design Review Board did not feel the store's plans were in line with the 2007 Plan of Conservation and Development, the Route 10 Corridor Study, and the Guidelines for Community Design.

Other questions were raised regarding the property located to the south of the proposed Big Y location, the height of the building, the type of pavement that will be used, and the type of landscaping on the property.

Commission member Gerald Post expressed concern that another sizeable project would be proposed to the south of the proposed Big Y with a request to have its own driveway. The board decided to include a request for a town easement on the property in order to maintain access between the two properties and not require a separate entrance for both.

Peck said the application submitted by Big Y included plans to use a special type of pervious pavement that would allow rain water to seep through and relieve some of the pressure on the storm water system. The pervious pavement would only be used in lower traffic areas where there would not be any truck traffic.

Due to the higher cost of pervious pavement, commission member Derek Peterson suggested making the use of such pavement on certain portions of the site a requirement to ensure that it is used.

The plans also include the use of landscaping consistent to the surrounding area that will include the use of some mature trees.

The commission voted unanimously to approve the special exceptions for the application. The Simsbury Planning Commission will review the application again this month.


Pamela Kelley September 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM
I am a Fitzgerald's shopper and really don't think this will have a large impact on them - I have no intention of going to BIG Y - those who like to shop in big stores already do, the rest of us who like privately owned small stores aren't tempted by the big guys. And sorry to say, Andy's never was a quality store like Fitzgeralds
Robert Johnson September 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM
maybe now fitzgeralds will lower their insulting prices.
DSimsBury September 17, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Robert, I agree with you. After all, these are the same people in charge that decided to try to change the town charter to not allow public forum on finance and zoning changes in this town. Ronald, Why should we have to move. I have lived in this town for 8 years. It used to support local businesses. It used to support local farms. It used to be a board of Simsbury citizens and not a self serving corporation that wastes money on cobblestone sidewalks to preserve the town, while welcoming in (without the approval of most residence) an eyesore like BIG Y. If you really want to shop at BIG Y, then go to the one that is a whole 8 miles away from the new site. What are you going to say when WalMart takes the space next door?
Canton Resident 1993 October 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM
It would be awesome if the buildings were torn down, pavement torn up, and grass was planted instead. I don't see a need for another big supermarket either...and honestly, thinking you will see any tax breaks is a joke! That was one of the big seeking points in canton when developers were working with our town government to build the Farmington Shoppes at Canton. We did not see any tax breaks and instead the town struggles to support the added traffic and road maintenance in the area. Have you ever tried to enter that place during the holidays? And now they've built another CVS...we need another pharmacy like we need another hole in the head. Any why should someone who enjoys the existing town have to move because they are against irresponsible developments?
Lou October 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Dear Canton Resident 1993, The property was on the market for many, many years. Why didn't you buy it, remove the buildings, remove the pavement, and plant grass? FYI, 1. The Shoppes at Farmington Valley and their tenants are Canton's #1, #3, & #4 taxpayers. Canton benefits from the revenue and the many ways The Shoppes and their tenants give back to the community. 2. Last time I checked the State of Connecticut daily traffic count was down for this area. 3. The "road maintenance in the area", the road in this area is a state highway and is maintained by the State of Connecticut, not the Town of Canton. Canton has deferred road maintenance on roads throughout Canton for many, many years. The price of being dependant on residential taxes, 93% of Canton is residential (tax negative), and 5% is non-residential (tax positive). 4. When you say "the town struggles to support the added traffic" are you referring to the private duty traffic police officers that come from the towns of Canton, Avon, and Simsbury? The private duty officers are paid for by The Shoppes, not by the Town of Canton. 5. At the time of the CVS application the Canton EDA gave a report, which included projected tax revenue. The largest employer in Canton is Canton. Many are grateful for the teacher or town staff salary the CVS will pay for.


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