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Letter to the Editor

Kirsten Griebel says the Zoning Commission should deny Big Y's application.

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.

Kirsten Griebel
7 Caryn Lane
Simsbury

David Moelling September 10, 2012 at 01:27 PM
No wonder Simsbury has an Anti-business reputation. Let's look at the facts 1. The property is currently an abandoned car dealership with old and crumbling buildings. 2. Numerous nearby commercial buildings are vacant 3. The existing commercial businesses are varied and range from convenience stores to self storage (not the cute upscale business the writer appears to desire, but honest businesses every town needs). A big Y would provide a rehabilitation of the property, pay property taxes, hire full and part time workers (think Simsbury High students), hire suppliers and contractors and be a responsible citizen. Moreover the town has no right to steal from the Wagner family the right to sell their property for the greatest price they can get. It's not yours Ms. Griebel, You didn't build it!
Mary Ann Urban September 10, 2012 at 01:47 PM
There are those of us who live in the north part of Simsbury that do not shop at either Kane's or Fitzgerald's and do not want to drive to the other end of Simsbury to shop at stop and Shop. I would think that this town might consider that right now all those people currently go to Stop and Shop or Geissler's in Granby or even Big Y in Southwick. Big Y is close to the gas that is at leat 20 cents a gallon cheaper than anywhere in Simsbury.
Susan Prentice September 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM
The north end of Simsbury is not particularly attractive now and never has been. If Big Y wants to come here and add tax revenue and jobs let them do so. I personally do not see the need for another super market in this town. But the property is now blighted and at least would be improved. And we really, really need the tax revenue for heavens sake. My taxes are so un-affordable for me at this point. Yet, I am trapped in this town because property values have dropped so radically. Don't fault the Wagner family in any way. They have contributed HUGELY to this community for years and are stellar citizens. Let Big Y develop this property, help us with the tax burden and provide some jobs. A new store is going to look a lot better than what is there now.
Megan September 10, 2012 at 11:49 PM
And this is why people from outside Simsbury hate those of us who live here: "The north end of Simsbury is not particularly attractive now and never has been." Susan, I suggest you take a drive through town as the sun rises over the Simsbury airport, or to the wild river rapids down in the Gorge, the horse farms leading into Granby, and the multicolored sunsets over Pinnacle Mountain and up on Metacom. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Betty September 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM
BRAVO!
Betty September 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
When I was in line to pay my taxes everyone shared your thoughts.
Betty September 11, 2012 at 01:51 PM
We are very fortunate to live in such a lovely area however, the Big Y site in it's current condition will not be used in the next distinctive destination campaign.
Susan Prentice September 11, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Megan, I did not mean to offend you. Apologies if you misunderstood me. I have lived in the north end of Simsbury for 35 years. I am not referring to the entire area. I find it quite beautiful. I am referring to that little section of RT 10/202 that could really use a face lift. Not all of it, mind you. But it needs a bit of a face lift...
Ronald September 12, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Why don't you move?

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