P&Z cancels meeting regarding River Oaks

By: Glenn M. Shafer , Staff Writer


According to Howard Beach, a zoning and compliance employee for the town of Simsbury, when no further details emerged from Konover, the meeting was cancelled. "There was no reason to proceed with the meeting," said Beach.
According to Beach, the parcel of land being discussed is referred to as the old CL&P property that runs along Route 10 from the Avon town line to the Tower Business Park on the east side of Hopmeadow Street. Konover has mailed brochures to town residents showing a mixed used development of residential, office, specialty retail and restaurants.
On Tuesday, June 27, 150 people attended a public presentation of the project at Eno Memorial Hall. Many of those who attended oppose the plan, but were not allowed to offer public comment.
"If they do submit a proposal, they will first need to submit a text amendment since the mixed used zone does not currently exist in Simsbury," said Beach. "Secondly, they will need to come in with a plan."
The property itself is currently zoned as light industrial.
Opposition to the project, already being discussed for more than 12 months, is well organized. A group called the Simsbury Homeowners Advocating Responsible Expansion (SHARE) is painting the River Oak project as a big box development, not the New Urbanisim concept presented by Konover. New Urbanism is a planning philosophy that encourages walking neighborhoods to combine private homes and commercial offices.
According to John Lucker, an opponent of the project and a member of SHARE, the proposed development is way too big for Route 10 and the result will be too much traffic. "Konover has had a year," said Lucker. "It seems after a year, there would be more detail, facts and figures."
Lucker listed potential problems with River Oak that include an inherent conflict with the character of Simsbury.
"When I think of big box, I think of Route 44 in Avon, I think of the Berlin Turnpike, I think of Buckland Hills in Manchester," said Lucker. "All of those places have appropriate infrastructure. River Oak will generate 6,000 to 8,000 more cars a day on Route 10. The state doesn't have plans to widen Route 10 to four lanes. River Oak will put the road at capacity. We will be forcing the state to expand the road and that gets the town into eminent domain seizures. We can't widen the road."
Beach said that Konover has not submitted a formal application as yet.


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