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.