Environment

Costco Bows Out For Now

by marcia chambers | Apr 27, 2016 12:13 pm | Comments (7)

With Permission Costco yesterday pulled an application to build a new warehouse store off Exit 56 of I-95 — a move that comes as no surprise given that it may have been headed for a regulatory denial.

Costco’s attorney pulled the application a few days before the inland wetlands commission (IWC) was set to begin deliberations and possibly vote. 

Attorney Thomas P. Cody, who has led the Costco team, acted as a final decision neared in what has been a long regulatory process, beginning some 18 months ago when Costco first submitted a Planned Development District (PDD) application to the Planning & Zoning Commission. The PDD was narrowly approved by a 3-2 vote and remains in effect. 

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Costco Public Hearing Ends on Sour Note

by Diana Stricker | Apr 18, 2016 7:20 am

Diana Stricker PhotoThe Costco public hearings that began in January ended near midnight Thursday after clashing testimony from both sides, ranging from highly technical scientific debate to reactions about allegations of impropriety.

The main question that remains is— whether the 44-acre commercial complex proposed near Exit 56 adversely impact the wetlands on the site.

The Costco team says there won’t be an adverse impact; and the opposition says there will—and they are asking Costco to provide alternatives to reduce the size of the project.

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IWC to Hear Dueling Costco Arguments

by Diana Stricker & Marcia Chambers | Apr 11, 2016 7:03 am

Latest Costco Filing UPDATE—The hearings for the 44-acre Costco commercial complex at Exit 56 may end this Thursday, and the deadline is nearing for the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) to make a decision.

Two of the questions the IWC will be weighing are whether the proposed Costco and seven other commercial buildings would adversely impact the wetlands—and whether “prudent and feasible alternatives” could lessen the impact. So far the occupants of the seven other commercial buildings have not been identified.

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Peer Review Consultants Say Costco Should Downsize

by Marcia Chambers & Diana Stricker | Mar 12, 2016 1:42 pm

Marcia Chambers Photo Two peer review consultants told the Inland Wetlands Commission Thursday night that a proposed 158,000-square-foot Costco warehouse should be downsized and that the 16 pump gas station should be eliminated or relocated. 

The proposed Costco project at Exit 56 spans three sites and includes the warehouse store and seven additional commercial buildings, plus the gas pumps and a liquor store. 

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BCRD: We Do Not Work For Costco

by Diana Stricker | Mar 8, 2016 8:07 am | Comments (1)

File Photo The attorney representing Branford Citizens for Responsible Development (BCRD) is disputing claims made in Costco’s recently revised plans to build a new superstore off Exit 56. And he is asking for a little respect.

Attorney Keith Ainsworth, who represents BCRD, also says in a recent filing that it is time for Costco to change its attitude toward intervenors—that if a group co-operates with Costco (as the Branford Land Trust has) it is collaborative and rational, and if doesn’t it is “discredited as not being a team player.” He said it is not his role to be a Costco team player and pointed out that the BCRD does not work for Costco. He asked that the group’s presentations “be evaluated objectively.”

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“Put the Sound on a Nitrogen Diet”

by marcia chambers | Feb 29, 2016 6:52 pm

With Permission Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound, showed a series of heart-breaking photographs at a recent lecture, photos documenting a massive die-off of fish and turtles last year on Long Island Sound, “not far from us,” he said.

With Permission Johnson spoke at the Blackstone Memorial Library last week to an audience of about 50 persons, who braved a rainy, windy night to attend his talk, which was sponsored by the Branford Land Trust.

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Branford Land Trust Analysis Prompts Revised Costco Plan

by marcia chambers | Feb 26, 2016 10:26 am

File Photo Costco has revised and resubmitted a voluminous set of plans after agreeing that the Branford Land Trust’s (BLT) engineering consultant had provided important information their own engineers had missed.

The latest set of Costco plans were delivered in boxes to the Inland Wetlands office at Town Hall late Wednesday. Costco wants to build a 150,000-square-foot warehouse at Exit 56, off I-95.  The next Costco public hearing before the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) is scheduled for March 10. 

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The Sand Has Disappeared; Residents: Take a Survey

by Sally E. Bahner | Feb 22, 2016 12:55 pm

File Photo Town Engineer Janice Plaziak is seeking information from Branford residents and businesses on their priorities for restoring services after a major storm. A detailed report examines the town’s vulnerable areas and offers solutions and adaptations.

Residents invited to a public information session and workshop this Tuesday, 7 p.m., at Fire Headquarters, 45 North Main St.

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Clashing Views Emerge at Costco Public Hearing

by Diana Stricker | Feb 13, 2016 7:15 pm | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo Two intervening groups in the Costco proceedings met with radically different reactions from Costco’s team at a public hearing this past Thursday before the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC).

The hearing concerned a proposal to build a Costco warehouse off Exit 56 at I-95.

Costco’s attorney said progress has been made in complying with requests for changes made by the Branford Land Trust, one of the interveners. But he strongly disputed a report by the consultant for the Branford Citizens for Responsible Development (BCRD) arguing that the project be scaled back.

Attorney Timothy Yolen, who represents the Branford Land Trust, said a private meeting was recently held with the Costco team to discuss the Land Trust’s 10-page list of recommendations. “The applicant has agreed to make many substantial modifications,” said Yolen, a partner at the Yolen & Perzin law firm in New Haven. 

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Reed Ready To Try Again On Solar

by marcia chambers | Feb 11, 2016 1:46 pm

With Permission Branford State Rep. Lonnie Reed is back in Hartford working on getting players to the table who might be able to resolve a sticky proposed pilot project: community based solar for renters of apartments and condos and those houses unable to install solar panels.

The holdup is the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) request for clarification from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on what the pilot project may do. According to a story in the CT. Mirror, DEEP will formulate a preliminary request for proposals only when it receives a ruling from PURA. 

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