Feb. 23—SOUTH WINDSOR — A public hearing is planned for tonight on a proposed zone change to allow another grocery store to be built in the Buckland Road Gateway development area.
Karen Johnson, vice president of development for Charter Realty, the company now managing the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk, plans to ask the Planning and Zoning Commission to remove restrictions and allow a second 40,000-square-foot grocery store in the area.
Plans call for building the store where Old Navy and a Japanese restaurant are located.
WHAT: The new management company of Evergreen Walk wants the Planning and Zoning Commission to change regulations to allow a second grocery store in the Buckland Road Gateway Development Zone.
WATCH: Tonight's meeting begins at 7 and can be viewed on Cox Cable channel 16 or 6082 on Frontier, or online at gmedia.swagit.com/live.
Zoning regulations don't allow any new grocery store within 1,500 feet of another in the Gateway Zone. The international discount supermarket chain Aldi is opening a new store across the street next month.
Tonight's meeting begins at 7 and can be viewed on Cox Cable channel 16 or 6082 on Frontier or online at
This is the first of two public hearings on the proposal. The PZC could vote on the change at its March 9 meeting.
Town Manager Michael Maniscalco supports the zone change, saying the grocery store is part of a much larger plan to implement a "renaissance" in Evergreen Walk.
"People no longer grocery shop the same way that they used to and the proposal to add a high-end grocery store to the area would not only help the shopping area, it would anchor it, solidifying the shopping center's position as a regional draw," he said.
The former Highland Park Market, which remains vacant, is next door to the Japanese restaurant. It closed in June 2010, citing lack of business. Johnson has told the Economic Development Commission there is room in Evergreen Walk to move Old Navy and the restaurant to a new location.
In a letter to Planning Director Michele Lipe on Jan. 19, Johnson cited a study from the Food Marketing Institute that found people shop "2.7 trips weekly and customers use several retail channels and store banners to meet their monthly grocery needs."
According to the Planning Department report on the proposed zone change, the PZC adopted the 1,500-foot distance restriction between grocery stores in 2005 to allow members to evaluate if it was successful in producing a compatible market within the Gateway Zone before numerous similar applications could be filed. The report further states the importance of considering the traffic impact to the area.
The Capitol Region of Council Governments on Jan. 29 reviewed the amendment and found "no apparent conflict with the regional plans and policies or the concerns of neighboring towns."
Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Pendleton said Monday the development of a grocery store would contribute to the revitalization of Evergreen Walk.
Evergreen Walk has struggled with more than 40 percent of its storefronts vacant, Maniscalco has said.
In October, Charter Realty took over the management of Evergreen Walk, which has more than 60 retailers, including L.L. Bean, Talbots, and Williams-Sonoma. Johnson told the EDC that the company is still in the transitional phase and expects to fully manage the shopping district in the next six months.
Poag managed Evergreen Walk and continues to work with Charter Realty.
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