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2002-10-20
Killingly, CT. Residents Fight Rezoning of "Project X" Wal-Mart Distribution Center

Anti-sprawl activists in Killingly, Connecticut are trying to kill off what they believe is a Wal-Mart Distribution Center. They filed this report: "Killingly is a small town located in the Northeast corner of the state.  We have recently learned that Walmart is looking at a site for a 1.2 million square foot distribution center off Interstate 395, which cuts right through the center of our town.  The property involved is going in front of Planning & Zoning for a zone change on November 13th.  It is currently zoned "Business Park District Zone " (it was initially "Residential" zone but that was changed by the owners to Business Park a few years ago).  They are asking to change the zone to "Industrial". The property is approximately 350 acres and from what we are told the Dist. Center would take up approx 150- 200 acres. There would have to be extensive site work performed to accommodate a building of this size on this property which is now a beautiful natural forest.  On top of it, the surrounding area is very residential.  We have been told that a facility like this can expect to see nearly 700 trucks a day coming and going.  This would cripple the on/off ramps from I-395 as well as the residential streets that access I-395. There has been no official announcement that it is in fact Wal-Mart that is planning the facility-just that there is a 'large corporation' interested and that is why the developer has requested a zone change. No one has been contacted to this point. The local town government and the Town Manager have tried to keep it hush hush- apparently; the Town Manager, Town Council and the developer had signed a confidentiality agreement with Wal-Mart stating that the project would be kept quiet until Wal-Mart gave the green light. The project is actually being referred to in Town Hall as 'Project X'" The local newspaper, the Norwich Bulletin, reports that the Killingly Economic Development Commission narrowly voted for the zone change, 3-2, but the Conservation Commission unanimously voted to recommend against the zone change. The Conservation Commission, was concerned about storm-water runoff and environmental affects like noise pollution, intersection tie-ups and increased truck traffic. However, the Planning and Zoning Commission is the board that actually makes the change. When asked to talk about potential developers of the parcel, Town Council Chairman Christian Sarantopoulos said he could not comment on the matter, saying all that is being discussed in town is a zone change."I don't believe it would be proper for me to comment on this," he told the Bulletin.

What you can do: Once again, public officials are keeping important information from their constituents and neighbors, shielding the developer from full disclosure. This puts local residents at a disadvantage, even though the value of their property could be significantly devalued as residential land if this massive distribution center goes through. Project X will forever change the lives of many residents in town, but all local officials will say is it's not "proper" to tell residents the whole story. For the ups and downs of other distribution center battles, search this Newsflash database by the words "distribution center".










 
 
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