Letter: Withdraw the BJ’s proposal for Main Avenue

By Douglas Hempstead,

Bruce Kimmel and Jerry Petrini

To the Editor:

NORWALK, Conn. — As Common Council representatives from Norwalk’s District D – which includes the Cranbury, Winnipauk, Broad River and Silvermine neighborhoods – we believe the application to locate a BJ’s regional store on Main Avenue should be withdrawn.

We have serious reservations about the size of the store in relation to the overall size of the property. We also believe the store will exacerbate existing traffic problems, not only on Main Avenue, but on the numerous feeder streets that run through residential neighborhoods. We do not believe a better coordinated system of traffic lights will come anywhere close to solving this problem.

We are aware that the proposed store is to be built on a superfund site, which means there will continue to be some level of toxicity in the soil and ground water, despite past remediation efforts. While we applaud BJ’s for its proposal to filter ground water flowing into the Norwalk River, we do not believe that will prevent problems from emerging in the future on this once severely contaminated site.

We believe BJ’s should release all of the environmental reports done in conjunction with the project. The public should have proper access to these reports.

We are also disturbed by BJ’s failure to engage the public, particularly the community organizations in the neighborhoods along the Main Avenue corridor. There are many Norwalk residents who have serious concerns about this project, and they should have been consulted early on in the process.

We recognize that a BJ’s on Main Avenue will generate some level of tax revenue for the city and will provide jobs. Nonetheless, those benefits, in our opinion, are far outweighed by the negative consequences for the city. Thus, we believe the application should be withdrawn.

Douglas Hempstead, 116 Chestnut Hill Road, Norwalk, Ct

Bruce Kimmel, 9 Toilsome Ave., Norwalk, Ct

Jerry Petrini, 9 Romindon Ct., Norwalk, Ct.



8 responses to “Letter: Withdraw the BJ’s proposal for Main Avenue”

  1. Lisa Thomson

    Wow! Thanks guys.

  2. Diane C2

    And so the application has been withdrawn……

  3. Mr. Ludlow

    An application is kicking around for months and months. Neighbors fight the good fight. Mike Mushak gets hit by Moccia and his minions for challenging the proposal. Moccia sends in his private lawyer, Bob Maslan, to continue the bullying of Mushak.
    Through all that Hempstead is silent. Kimmel raises questions, but that’s it. Neither of them says a word when Maslan goes after Mushak.
    Guess it’s easier to stand up to chickens and bumble bees than the Mayor.

  4. Lisa Thomson

    While initially pleased with the councilmans’ letter, I would have to agree with Mr. Ludlow. A little late or early, in light of the next story of BJs withdrawal (unless of course, the letter was written a week or so ago and is just now hitting the press.). Also, Mike Mushak WAS alone in his fight for all these weeks.

  5. dianelauricella

    Very happy that the Councilmen finally came to realize publicly what the neighborhoods did months ago. I hope that they will help us in pursuing documents, copying them for free, and make sure that proper procedures are followed by staff…disturbing trends emerged where it appears that select senior staff land use and legal officials have wither withheld documents or claimed important documents were not relevant…I believe that Mr. Hempstead is the Chair of the Council Personnel Committee. It is staff’s duty to guide applicants…but it can be said that it MORE their duty to help Commissioners to arrive at an informed decision, no?

    Also, Councilwoman-At-Large Anna Duleep never wavered in her support for the neighbors on the BJ Wholesale matter, once again the lone public voice on the Council when it is an unpopular topic.

    Mr. Mushak is indeed our folk hero on this and he was alone on the Zoning Commission, but for the record, many wonderful citizens have been studying and preparing for this matter for months and came to the Zoning Committee and Commission to support Mr. Mushak and bear witness! Kudos to all who attempted to speak “truth to power”…this effort was fraught with roadblocks. And the whole process of doing our homework, reviewing the important Standards for a Special Permit, will make us all stronger for this and any future development.

  6. David

    Bravo Gentlemen! Since NoN reported the withdrawal of the BJ’s application a mere 20 minutes after this letter was published, you were *obviously* the proverbial straw (that shattered the will of a large multi-national corporation, no less)
    Collectively, you should also be commended for your restraint. It must have been very difficult watching Mr. Musak and local residents voice their concerns for weeks on end. But you knew you had to wait until the opportune moment, you had to deliver the killer blow at just the right time, and this letter was SURELY it.
    Bravo Gentlemen. Bravo!

  7. Oldtimer

    Some believe this as a political decision by Moccia, when he saw the well organized opposition and the risk of this application becoming a campaign issue. After the election, if he wins, BJ’s will be back with an improved application, and he expects the opposition will have lost interest.

  8. RU4REEL

    Good decision for Norwalk, look for another site, say Reed/Putnam?

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