Oct. 14—SOUTH WINDSOR — The Planning and Zoning Commission continued the public hearing Tuesday on a proposed distribution facility on Talbot Lane after the developer revamped its plans by moving the loading dock bay areas.
The proposal has faced significant resistance from neighbors at both PZC and Inland Wetlands public hearings.
The inland wetlands application for the site plan is still pending, as the public hearing for that is continued to a meeting on Oct. 20. The PZC public hearing will be continued to Oct. 26.
APPLICATION: Received by Inland Wetlands and PZC on July 7 and July 13, respectively.
INLAND WETLANDS: The first inland wetlands hearing was Aug. 4; it was continued to Sept. 1 and Oct. 6, which was canceled, and a third hearing is set for Oct. 20.
PLANNING AND ZONING: The first hearing was Oct. 12 and was continued to Oct. 26. The PZC cannot take action on the application until the Inland Wetlands Agency approves the proposal.
Rich Delhaie of Cody Circle said residents were told by town officials that they might not have time to speak Tuesday, as the presentation by the developer would take up the bulk of the meeting. But they'll be prepared for the hearing's continuation, Delhaie said.
"I think that's where you're going to hear the more acute arguments, and there's lots of them," Delhaie said.
The residents who spoke at Tuesday's meeting primarily expressed concerns about traffic and noise from Governor's Highway with tractor-trailers coming and going to deliver and pick up freight at the warehouse.
Leigh Lovering of Elizabeth Street said traffic there is already heavy enough, requiring the road to be resurfaced regularly.
"Governor's Highway is not a highway," Lovering said.
Wei Zhang of Cody Circle said the signs forbidding tractor-trailers from crossing into the residential area of Governor's Highway are "basically useless" because of a lack of enforcement.
Pete Andrews, another Cody Circle resident, said he already has heard noise complaints from the neighbors of the recently completed Aldi grocery distribution center on Rye Street, which is a fraction of the size of the proposed warehouse on Talbot Lane.
"What kind of noise is this going to have impacting all of our neighborhoods?" Andrews asked.
"Every day you will still see many tractor-trailers through that section" of town, Zang said.
The developers, who shortened their presentation Tuesday over time constraints, said they will have more information to present at the Oct. 26 meeting. They have not yet named who their tenant would be.
A key component of the presentation was an updated site plan that consolidates two loading docks on opposite sides of the building by eliminating the east side docks and moving them to the west side of the building.
Peter DeMallie, president of Design Professionals, told the hearing that the change was made after a recommendation from Planning Director Michele Lipe, based on concerns from residents and because a waiver would be required for two loading dock areas.
"While such a change would take away from some of this building's competitive position in the marketplace ... our clients agreed to this change," DeMallie said.
Lipe said the developers would still need a waiver for 35-foot-high light fixtures in the truck parking lot, as that would exceed the limit for the zone regulations.
Benjamin Wheeler, a landscape architect with Design Professionals, said the site plan exceeds many of the requirements.
Wheeler said a proposed 6-foot berm along the east and south sides of the parcel, lined with evergreen trees and a wildflower mix to accommodate wildlife and pollinators would "more or less obscure the building" from residential areas.
Joseph covers East Hartford and South Windsor. He joined the JI in July 2021. Joseph graduated from the University of Connecticut and he is an avid guitarist and coffee enthusiast.