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Tractor Supply Store Proposal Under Environmental Review

Published: May 17, 2016

Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members are reviewing the wetlands/watercourses protection aspects of a controversial proposal to build a Tractor Supply store and adjacent outdoor sales area at 116 South Main Street.

At a May 11 IWC public hearing, representatives for applicant NERP Holdings and Acquisitions, LLC, explained in detail the stormwater control measures and the environmental steps that would be taken to protect the 8.2-acre site which has extensive wetlands, largely in the form of a red maple swamp on the western section of the property.

The driveway entrance for Tractor Supply would be positioned across South Main Street from Simm Lane. NERP wants to build a 19,097-square-foot store, plus an adjacent 15,053-square-foot fenced outdoor sales area. NERP would own and rent out the facilities to Tractor Supply.

The site now holds a circa 1810 two-story house and some outbuildings that would be demolished to make way for the store and related facilities.

Tractor Supply, which is a major retail chain, typically sells merchandise including home improvement goods, livestock/pet-related products, hardware, tools, lawn and garden maintenance items, clothing, footwear, and automotive items, among others.

Engineer James Cassidy, representing the applicant, described development plans for the project, explaining in detail how stormwater runoff would be controlled. The project would have an onsite septic waste disposal system. It also would have public water service. The project would take four months to construct, he said.

Environmental specialist George Logan, representing the applicant, explained how wetlands at the site would be protected from contamination. He described the project as being thoughtfully planned to minimize environmental risks.


Public Comment

Brian Nadro of 112 South Main Street, who lives next door to the site, expressed concerns about stormwater drainage control and the project’s effect on his septic system.

Mr Nadro noted that the swamp at 116 South Main Street holds much wildlife.

Duncan Morris of 4 Storm Ridge Road told IWC members that he owns property at 115 South Main Street, which lies across that street from the Tractor Supply site. Mr Morris said he is concerned about adverse environmental effects occurring at 115 South Main Street, such as increased stormwater drainage.

Mr Cassidy responded that stormwater from 116 South Main Street would not drain to 115 South Main Street.

Attorney Christopher Russo, representing 111 South Main Street, LLC, told IWC members that his client has an administrative appeal pending in court over the Planning and Zoning Commission’s (P&Z) approval last year of a change of zone for 116 South Main Street. His client owns a building that holds Fair Auto Supply of Newtown, Inc and Newtown Florist.

NERP is proceeding with the IWC application although the P&Z’s change of zone is being challenged in court.

Mr Russo told IWC members that the proposed development of 116 South Main Street would result in damage to the wetlands at that site.

“It is too much [development] in too small an area… It is too big of a use, too big of a plan,” Mr Russo said.

Mr Russo said that substances that would be sold be Tractor Supply, such as fertilizers and pesticides, would pose the potential for wetlands contamination there.

IWC members decided that the public hearing on the Tractor Supply proposal would resume at their May 25 meeting.

In March, Tractor Supply received a town property tax break for locating a store in town, gaining endorsements for the tax reduction from the Board of Selectmen and the Legislative Council.

The firm known as 111 South Main Street, LLC, of Stratford, is seeking to reverse the P&Z’s controversial decision to change the zoning designation of 116 South Main Street from R-1 (Residential) to South Main Village Design District/Special Design District-4 (SMVDD/SDD-4).

SMVDD zoning provides for flexible zoning regulations, allowing the applicant and the P&Z to create mutually agreeable zoning rules, which apply only to the site proposed for development under the terms of the SMVDD’s Special Design District (SDD) provisions.

The P&Z created SMVDD zoning in 2007 in seeking to preserve the “New England character” of the 4.2-mile-long South Main Street corridor.

The Tractor Supply project also would require a site approval from the P&Z.

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