To the Editor,
On September 10th the Simsbury Zoning Commission faces a major decision on an application for a Big Y on Route 10. The choice is clear. Will our elected officials choose growth that benefits the community, the economy and the environment or will the town choose building strip development like we see on Route 44? When rendering a decision the Zoning Commission should consider these questions.
What is the real net economic benefit of another large retail grocery store to the town? Are we just moving our spending dollars for groceries from one store to another? Will other smaller area businesses fail against this large chain store and no longer pay taxes? What will a large retail store cost the town for increased police or sewage expansion over time? Real economic development is more than gross taxes collected.
What is the full environmental impact of excessive building on an aquifer that provides our drinking water? The developer stated their plan would remove “most of the pollutants” from draining into the aquifer. Is it responsible to allow children to drink water that has “most of the pollutants” removed?
What is the real traffic impact from Big Y’s daily delivery trucks and hundreds of cars to Route 10? Their traffic study did not include traffic projections created by the 200 new apartments being built in Dorset Crossing. Are the developer’s claims that Big Y will have no significant impact on Route 10 based on false assumptions?
How does another generic box store on acres of pavement promote a sense of place? This project doesn’t comply with a village development for the north gateway as envisioned by the Plan of Conservation and Development, the Rte 10 Corridor Study or the Design Guidelines. For those reasons the Design Review Board gave it thumbs down in their referral to the Zoning Commission.
Building a Big Y on the Wagner property is not a 'by right' project. The developer needs five special exceptions including: building on an aquifer that provides drinking water to surrounding neighborhoods; increasing the amount of building and pavement from what’s allowed (40% coverage) to what’s needed by the developer (60% coverage); a right of way from the town to allow their 18 wheeler delivery trucks to exit via the skating center driveway; using the land for a grocery store; and reducing the amount of parking required.
What does the town get in return for these special exceptions? Unfortunately, on July 30th Simsbury Zoning Chairman Rob Pomeroy and Commissioners Dave
Ryan, Gerry Post and Vaughan Marecki voted to open and close the public hearing on the Big Y application in just one evening. By prematurely closing the public hearing these Zoning Commissioners eliminated the ability to gather sufficient facts to support an informed decision.
Without more studies, the choice is clear. The Big Y proposal flouts both the economic and environmental impacts and rejects our town’s vision for the north gateway. On September 10th the Zoning Commission should deny the application.
7 Caryn Lane