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January 21, 2022

One-year moratorium on warehouse applications sought by South Windsor resident

Photo | Pixabay

A South Windsor resident filed an application with the town's Planning and Zoning Commission on Jan. 11 asking for a one-year moratorium on any warehouse or distribution center proposals.

Kathryn Kerrigan of Main Street said she filed the application because the town needs time to update its zoning regulations and Plan of Conservation and Development to properly accommodate such proposals.

“This is a time for [the PZC] to step back,” Kerrigan said.

Kerrigan said she anticipates the application will have a public hearing in the middle of March, based on conversations with members of the Planning Department, but a date has not been confirmed.

Kerrigan said her neighborhood has been “pretty much ruined” by nearby tractor-trailer traffic, but it’s not too late to prevent the same thing from happening to other neighborhoods in town, such as those near the proposed 360,000 square-foot distribution facility along Governor’s Highway and Talbot Lane.

“Once that genie’s out of the bottle, there’s no turning back,” Kerrigan said.

Amazon, Aldi’s, Coca-Cola and Home Depot occupy existing distribution centers in town in the area of Sullivan Avenue and Route 5.

Kerrigan said while the PZC rejected the Talbot Lane distribution center in December, developers could win a subsequent lawsuit they filed, and the updated application would require approval.

“It’ll be a shame if it gets passed, but if they just make a few corrections, a few changes to truck queuing for instance, it may hold up in a court,” Kerrigan said.

Kerrigan said many of the developers who propose warehouses and distribution centers come from outside of town.

“They have no vested interest in making sure we have some sort of quality of life,” Kerrigan said.

The town’s zoning regulations lack a firm footing for the PZC to stand against undesirable warehouse and distribution center proposals, she said. If the moratorium is adopted, it would give the town time to develop such a backing.

“If we can’t come up with legal reasons to deny these applications, we get sued, they reapply and they win,” Kerrigan said.

The application document lists a number of items to consider for regulation changes, including restrictions on the sizes of new buildings, a review of traffic and noise standards and more clear definitions for warehouses, distribution facilities and freight terminals.

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