Housing moratorium, warehouse on South Windsor PZC table – Journal Inquirer

SOUTH WINDSOR — The Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a meeting Tuesday night to primarily discuss two topics — the proposed housing moratorium and the resubmitted Governor’s Highway warehouse application.

If approved, the housing moratorium would bar applications and approvals for single-family residential subdivisions and resubdivisions that would create three or more lots, and special exception permits for single-family, duplex, and multi-family residential housing projects.

The moratorium would go into effect immediately after approval, for a period of 12 months. It could be lifted or extended by the PZC at any time during that period.

The PZC will also hold a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed 360,000 square-foot warehouse along Governor’s Highway and Talbot Lane.

The public hearing began on Feb. 8, and was continued to Feb. 15 and March 8. The legal date for the PZC to act on the application is March 17.

The application, originally rejected on Dec. 7, 2021 in a unanimous vote, was resubmitted on Dec. 20, 2021 with minor changes to the plans for on-site truck queuing. The size, number of loading bays, and most other aspects remain unchanged.

Planning Department staff said Friday they anticipate the PZC will make a decision on the housing moratorium Tuesday, and that the public hearing on the warehouse application will be closed.

Under the proposed moratorium, existing projects — namely the apartments at the Geissler’s Plaza, the pending Tempo apartment expansion, a senior housing project on Main Street, and any previously approved subdivision lots — would not be affected.

The moratorium was discussed at public hearings on Jan. 25 and Feb. 15, with community members and the board split.

At previous meetings, those in favor of the moratorium cited giving the PZC time to overhaul regulations, as well as giving other town departments time to manage growth.

Those against the moratorium cited reduced town revenue, potential friction with developers, and a lack of support for a moratorium being necessary.

For the warehouse, the developer brought a lawsuit against the PZC in December 2021 after the original application was rejected. In the lawsuit, the property owner stated that the commission “acted illegally, arbitrarily, and in abuse of the discretion vested in it.” No court dates are currently scheduled for the lawsuit.

The proposal has proven controversial among neighbors, who have cited a number of economic, health, and quality-of-life issues that the warehouse would create.

A group of residents petitioned to intervene in the previous application, but the PZC ultimately found that they did not have enough evidence to rule in their favor.

Scott Stimson, a neighbor opposed to the warehouse, said Friday morning that residents have placed “Not for Sale” yard signs along Governor’s Highway and Beldon Road to show their opposition.

“These signs are a representation that we are fighting for our homes and quality of life, we are not giving up,” Stimson said, adding that he is hoping for a large in-person turnout at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Stimson said residents are planning to stage a silent demonstration with signs outside of town hall before the meeting, as they have done in the past.

Joseph covers East Hartford and South Windsor. He joined the JI in July 2021. Joseph graduated from the University of Connecticut and he is an avid guitarist and coffee enthusiast.