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BIG-BOX RETAIL TARGETS SIMSBURY

 

Konover Development has obtained an option on land east of Hopmeadow Street at the southern end of Simsbury. They have initiated plans to build a 130,000 square foot, big-box retail store on the site as the anchor of a retail complex. A building of this size is twice as big as a Super Stop & Shop and potential tenants would include a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and Target. Other retail outlets would accompany the big-box, and ultimately the entire 61 acre parcel would be built out. Konover’s plan calls for widening a section of Hopmeadow Street to four lanes.

The Town of Simsbury is currently in the process of revising its ten-year plan and has had significant direct input from Konover and Mike Goman, its CEO. Zoning classifications would be changed, as well as the approval process.

Town residents are just now beginning to learn of this proposal and many are highly concerned about the impact of big-box development on the town. Citizens’ discussions have focused on three issues…

 

*The unique character, beauty and quality of life found in Simsbury.  A 130,000 square foot retail behemoth at the front door of the town would forever alter its visual signature and environment.

 

*Traffic and safety.  A 61 acre retail complex anchored by at least one big-box would overwhelm Hopmeadow Street with shoppers 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, re-supplying these stores would bring a relentless flood of large trucks thru the center of town 24/7.

 

*Impact on Neighborhoods.  People move to Simsbury for its schools and neighborhoods. Big-box development would send quality-of-life shock waves thru adjoining residential areas.

 

All told, the costs would seem to be plain and profound. As for the benefit….an increase in net tax revenues… skepticism abounds.  And there are other sensible development opportunities for the same land that would provide higher tax revenues without the same traffic and safety problems, for example, office buildings and senior citizen housing.

 

Simsbury, like all towns and cities today, needs to grow its tax base and town residents overwhelmingly support economic development. But they expect development that builds on and enhances the essential character of the town and that delivers a solid cost/benefit outcome. This proposal fails those standards for many residents.

 

As Simsbury Homeowner’s Advocating Responsible Expansion (SHARE), we encourage our elected land use officials to adopt a Plan of Conservation and Development and corresponding land use regulations that will prohibit big-box development and better protect both Simsbury's essential character and long-term community interests for the generations to come.

 

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