WALLINGFORD — The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing Monday night on a plan to redevelop the former Bristol-Myers Squibb site into an Amazon facility, despite not having completed maps or revised traffic information.
The commission allowed the public hearing on the plan at 5 Research Parkway to open last month but immediately continued it, so Monday was the commission’s first discussion on the proposal.
The remote meeting drew more than 100 people, but it’s unclear how many were members of the public.
The applicant, Montante Construction, is seeking a special permit to redevelop the 180-acre site to build a 219,000-square-foot delivery station building and 715-space parking lot for Amazon.
Commission member Jim Fitzsimmons called the application “Groundhog Day.”
“This is where we were several years ago,” he said. “The last time we had an application on this site…months went by, delays, and then we started to get different information at each meeting.”
He referenced the previous application to redevelop the site two years ago. Calare Properties proposed building warehouses that covered about 1 million square feet on the site.
Calare ran out of time before they could present a traffic study. It was one of the reasons some commission members didn’t feel comfortable approving the application, which was denied in January 2019.
Fitzsimmons also brought up the concerns raised by residents in the neighborhood near the site.
“This is one of those unique sites in Wallingford it’s a rather large site, but it abuts a rather substantial residential district,” he said.
Potential noise, light and air pollution emanating from the site were among the topics commissioners brought up.
Amazon already operates a sortation center, another type of warehouse, nearby at 29 Research Parkway, while Amazon Logistics operates a warehouse and distribution center on South Cherry Street, providing “last mile” service to customers like the proposed delivery station.
The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission approved the application April 7, with the condition that an independent erosion control plan monitor will oversee the construction activities to ensure that the erosion control plan is implemented.
Jessica Schumer, economic development manager with Amazon, reviewed facility site operations Monday. She said that the warehouse also would be a “last mile” delivery service model.
She said the site would operate 24/7, with trucks making deliveries to the warehouse overnight.
Van drivers would arrive at 9 a.m., pick up a van, wait for them to be loaded at the warehouse, and then depart for the day to make deliveries as another wave of drivers arrived.
The waves would consist of 120 drivers leaving every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Flex drivers, who use their personal vehicles for deliveries, would arrive in the afternoon.
The public hearing was ongoing at press time.
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