A decision is expected on May
19 in Simsbury
on whether or not to allow Big Box stores, like Target, in town. At this
week's Zoning Commission meeting, an amendment was being considered that
would curb the building size of a store to a maximum 20,000 square feet and
two floors, unless it was accessed by Route 44.
The Konover Development Corporation is planning to submit an application
for a $200 million development on Route 10 utilizing 60 acres of land near Hartford
Financial Services Corporation. The project, Simsbury River Oaks, just over
the Avon town line, would include houses,
offices, stores, and a Target.
resident Bill Miller, a member of the Simsbury Homeowners for Responsible
Expansion (SHARE), drafted the amendment with an attorney and submitted it
to the Zoning Commission. He and SHARE have been very visible in their
opposition to a Big Box concept on Route 10.
Austin Barney II, chair of the Simsbury Zoning Commission, said a vote
would place on May 19 after the Simsbury Planning Commission, headed by
John Loomis, formally refers the amendment.
Out of 23 speakers at this week's three-hour zoning commission meeting,
only two speakers were against the amendment, including T. J. Donahue, an
attorney for Konover Development.
The application for River Oaks has yet to be submitted by Konover
Development Corporation and if the amendment limiting the size of a
potential big box store in Simsbury
is passed on May 19, the chances of River Oaks being built appears over.
Chuck Ward, a Simsbury resident and a member of SHARE, said that many
people in town believe that without the Target store, Konover Development
is not interested in building houses and stores along Route 10 because the
market doesn't support such a project. In his remarks to the Zoning
Commission this week, Ward said he now thinks the members of the Zoning
Commission are focused on what is right for the town.
"You have always been the frontline defense, protecting our town from predatory
and litigious developers who would like to pave over our town," said
Ward. "Some of you have even been considered too hard on developers, and nearly forced off the Zoning Commission
in the last election by the Republican Town Committee. And you know all too
well that there are developers who will put this town over a barrel in
order to get their way to develop whatever and wherever they want. And if
they don't get their way, they'll bury this town in legal fees."