‘Stick To The Business Of Planning And Zoning’

Published: September 12, 2018 at 04:36 pm


To The Editor:

On August 16, my neighbors, husband, and I attended a P&Z meeting regarding an application to allow gas stations at exit 9 in Hawleyville. We were hoping to voice our opposition during public comment. Unfortunately, we were told at the beginning of that meeting the issue was “tabled” until the September 6 meeting to allow the applicant to make “text changes” to their application, and we should come back at that time. We did come back September 6, and were surprised and angry to be told that the public comment period had been closed. I would like someone from P&Z to let me know when that happened, since we were specifically told to come back on that date at the August 16 meeting. It seems that games are being played, and the public is not being allowed to voice concerns.

At last week’s meeting, one of the members of the P&Z Commission said something to the effect of “zoning changes are made when it suits the area.” Let me say that these proposed changes do not suit this area!

Two years ago, we fought to keep out apartments and a church on Covered Bridge Road. P&Z allowed those zone changes. Now we have apartments and a mega-church. There are proposals for a 200,000-square-foot warehouse across from Covered Bridge Road, a 200,000-square-foot medical office off of Route 25 near Whippoorwill Hill; don’t even get me started on the absurd baby-warehouse at the corner of Saw Mill Road and Route 25. I only hope that there was some payoff, because nobody in their right mind would think that ridiculous building should be in that location, never mind on a postage stamp-sized piece of property.

So, let’s allow a gas station where the Hawleyville Deli is. And when these changes are approved (I said when, not if), it will open up the possibility for another gas station at Covered Bridge and Route 25. It seems like projects are approved without any forethought to the traffic that already plagues this area, the possibility of negative impacts to the environment if there were ever a leak.

The only issue the public could comment on at the September 6 meeting was that concerning outdoor lighting at the new drive-through location of Starbucks (naturally, of grave importance). I spoke at that time stating my disagreement with drive-throughs in Newtown and added my concerns with the abundance of zoning changes — not for the better — especially in the Hawleyville area. I would like to thank board members Benjamin Toby and Corrine Cox for being attentive when I was addressing the Board, unlike some other members. They seemed to have a real concern and understanding regarding my comments, as illustrated by remarks they made later.

P&Z should stick to the business of Planning and Zoning — not rolling out a red carpet to any business that wants to come to Newtown, no matter the location, regardless of the negative impact to that neighborhood, the environment, or traffic.


Janet McKeown

10 Hillcrest Drive, Newtown September 12, 2018

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