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,"
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
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.