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2002-01-17
Canton, CT. Konover's Target Shot Down 6-1.

The small Connecticut town of Canton (pop 9,000) will not be getting a Target store. One of New England's most prolific developers, the Konover company, lost its bid this week to construct a 125,000 s.f. Target off Route 44 adjoining nearby residential properties. (see the October 12, 2001 Canton newsflash). The vote by the Town's Planning Commission wasn't even close. The defeat capped a 3 month battle by citizens, who turned out so many residents to the first hearing that the Fire Marshall had to shut the meeting down. Here are exerpts from a January 16th. op-ed piece in the Hartford Courant, written by Jane Latus, the President of Canton Advocates for Responsible Expansion (CARE): "In my hometown of Canton, residents have made headlines lately with their attempt to defeat a developer's wish to rezone a residential neighborhood (a beautiful, historic, wooded one at that) to build another of America's bazillion big-box stores. Land is a finite resource, so we should use it wisely. There is such a thing as "smart growth." "If you're really interested in improving the tax base, retail is the least productive way to go," Fred Carstensen, director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at the University of Connecticut, told me. "It generates the least amount of net new taxes and does the most to diminish adjacent residential property values. If sprawl were good for communities, Enfield would have excellent schools. Glastonbury residents wouldn't say their town lacks a "community" feel. Avon, West Hartford, Glastonbury and Simsbury (to name but a few) wouldn't need portable classrooms." Latus, in a message to Sprawl-Busters, described this week's victory as follows: "Konover got the boot! Defeated 6-1!! It's a happy night here in Canton, believe me. The only yes vote was from the commissioner we expected to vote yes. He said quality of life and character are subjective, and he's pragmatic. That was all he had to say. The other 6 commissioners spoke at length, passionately and eloquently and very often using our terms and arguments. They said things such as: it's not the commission's responsibility to provide convenient shopping for residents, and that it's individuals' responsibility to choose where they like living; that Canton should be unique and cutting edge;that the tax gain would be negligible; that this zone change would allow a store totally out of scale; and on and on." And Theresa Sullivan Barger, who helped guide the CARE effort, added: "Another commissioner said we can't look at short-term tax benefit in light of what this would do to the neighborhood. Others talked about wanting to keep the small-town character, not be homogenious and wanting development on a human scale. They were speaking our language!! It was just wonderful, not just because they said no, but their reasons for saying no completely matched our points. We feel that we have turned the tide!"

What you can do: It's all over for Konover in Canton. For more information on the CARE
campaign, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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