Log In

Reset Password

The Warehouse Is Wrong — Part 1



Text Size

To the Editor:

Part I — Alex Villamil and I are sharing in this Letter to the Editor for continuity purposes. Please read Alex’s Part II that follows.

I attended the 5/5/22, 5/19/22 and 6/2/22, Planning and Zoning Commission meetings. I am a trial attorney who has tried more than 100 civil jury cases and have legal knowledge in zoning. The “Warehouse” proposal of 10 Hawleyville Road is simply wrong. It’s too large, too much traffic at the location, too noisy, and too much lack of transparency.

All Newtowners attending the meetings opposed the Warehouse Applicant. (100% to 0%).

The amount of legal misinformation by the applicant’s lawyer is disturbing. He represents that the applicant has a “concept” of a long-term storage warehouse. Just as easily, the applicant may have a “concept” of a short-term storage with multiple factored tractor-trailer trucks and vehicles.

The lawyer refuses to disclose the applicant’s warehouse buyer which would provide transparency as to not only the issue of short-term versus long-term warehousing intentions, but also where the trucks will be heading … multiple businesses in Monroe, Trumbull and the I-95 corridor.

Next, the lawyer tells us that not all of the 55 truck bays may be used, some may just be used as trailer parking … so let’s be real … America is built on the great concept of capitalism and capitalism says these Developers will rightfully optimize profits.

It is the Zoning Commission’s job to prevent capitalism from devouring the rightful property rights of Newtown residents. When Newtowners invest in perhaps the largest dollar asset in their lives, a home, they have the right to rely on the existing zoning laws present at the time. Zoning must look at the worst option, not the pie in the sky scenario.

I was shocked listening to the Wharton lawyer tell the Zoning Commission that they had to accept their traffic engineer opinions because neither the intervenors nor the Town had employed a traffic engineer. A finder of fact can rightly reject any expert whose testimony he or she deems not credible … for whatever reasons.

In fact, both traffic expert opinions lack any credible foundation as they are premised on unsubstantiated and totally speculative assumptions. Wharton refuses to disclose buyers, short-term versus long-term, direction of truck traffic, etc. They tell the traffic engineers to just speculate since their proposal is next to I-84 and therefore only 20% traffic will go down Main Street.

Their lack of transparency is a significant tell as to this project’s toxicity to Newtown and particularly, Main Street. The lack of credible foundation is always a valid reason to reject an alleged expert’s opinion.

(These are my personal opinions and not those of any Board or Commission I may sit on).

Thank you,

Jim Gaston


Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. tomj says:

    I think the most telling statistic here is that although you claim that 100% of the people in the room opposed the project, only 8.8% of the people within 500 feet of the project signed the petition…

  2. saxon9075 says:

    I thank you for a sober letter, based on logic and research not conjecture. I agree about the “Concept” being vague. The road to Heck is paved with good intentions. The developer may have every intention of it being a long term facility, but if the market does not bear it out what are they to do? Let it go empty, run at a loss? I am troubled at the refusal to name the customer/client who will be in the warehouse. But this seems to be the new trend in local government. Recently in Brookfield they approved a new tenant for the old CVS on Candlewood lake Rd. They had a “Confidentiality Agreement” not to name the applicant. Many people thought (correctly so) it was going to be Amazon Fresh. But I have, as a public policy stance, a problem with a local government entering into any Secret Agreement with a developer.

    1. nb.john.voket says:

      Local government (the P&Z Commission) did not and has not withheld possible tenant information, and was not subject to any type of confidentiality agreement. The developer may be subject to such an agreement, but that was not forthcoming during the proceedings.

      1. saxon9075 says:

        Thank you John for keeping me honest. I was inexact in my wording. I was not accusing anyone in Newtown of entering into a confidentoality agrement. I was referring to Brookfield agreeing to keep the tennant on Candlewood Lake Rd (Amazon Fresh) secret when they approved the pland and signage. Inadvertantly I tarrred them with the same brush.

  3. tomj says:

    Logic and research, maybe. Could you point me to the section of the zoning regulations that says that before a project there needs to disclose the tenant/customer? The town is putting in Walsh corners down off exit 9. Where is the outrage about what tenants will be in there? When the strip stores were put off exit 10 there was no discussion about who would be renting the space. When it comes to this warehouse, I hope it ends up being an Amazon depot. I am tired of having to wait one day for my packages and look forward to this truck depot being able to support same-day delivery! I hope that it ends up bigger than the one in Monore. I wish for a wave of Amazon trucks to leave the facility each day and deliver whatever random sundries I decided I randomly needed but forgot I ordered!

Leave a Reply