Updated, 4 p.m. Tuesday: Comment from Mayor Harry Rilling.
NORWALK, Conn. — Would-be operators of a distribution center in Norden Place have withdrawn their application for the project.
The Zoning Commission has cancelled its public hearing, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, on the topic of the distribution center.
“Residents certainly made their voices heard regarding this project. It was no secret how many in the community felt. It was very clear this project was not good for the community and I think it’s a positive outcome,” Mayor Harry Rilling said in a statement.
Zoners were considering a proposed conversion of a 330,000 square foot portion of the existing building located at 10 Norden Place to create a new warehouse and wholesale distribution facility with 19 loading docks and changes to the site’s existing parking lot and driveways. It was estimated that the business would produce 180-190 truck trips a day, with the owners promising to keep them between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., “to the extent commercially practicable.”
The proposal generated much opposition, including an East Norwalk Neighborhood Association petition signed by more than 1,700 people and statements from the Norwalk Board of Health and the Bike/Walk Commission enumerating reasons why it should not be approved. An opposition traffic analysis predicted that it could actually generate 400 truck trips a day.
That prediction was done on behalf of the Sasqua Hills Neighborhood Association, which was formed in response to the application, and submitted a week ago.
Attorney Carolyn Cavolo, representing applicant Norden Place KB, LLC, withdrew the application Monday morning. She dod not respond to an email asking for an explanation and if the applicant planned to resubmit the application. Planning and Zoning Director Steven Kleppin said he had no further information.
SHNA organizer Farhan Memom released this statement:
“It’s wonderful news that the application to build a giant warehouse distribution facility in East Norwalk have been withdrawn. This was an ill-conceived project that would have affected the health and safety of residents. This victory is a testament to the power of community action. It shows that by coming together and making our voices heard we don’t have to let out-of-town developers ruin our neighborhoods.
“So many people in our community put their time, talent and treasure into organizing a united opposition to this proposal. Through everyone’s efforts we were able to not only provide information on what this development would mean on a personal level, but our experts and consultants were able to show the misinformation and gaps in the applicants.
“We now have to shift our focus to ensure that Norwalk’s Zoning Commission considers imposing a moratorium on development within the R&D and Light Industrial Manufacturing Zone that this property sits on. We to properly consider how future development in these zones fits in with the East Norwalk TOD plan. We also need to re-evaluate the zoning process so other neighborhood organizations don’t have to raise thousands of dollars to fund lawyers and consultants. Doing so places and extraordinary burden on citizens and is not sustainable.”
The East Norwalk Neighborhood Association released this statement:
“On behalf of the East Norwalk Neighborhood Association, we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of residents, the many business owners and their employees, and the civic & city agencies who joined us in opposition to the Norden Place Application by writing letters to the Zoning Commission, signing the petition, placing lawn signs, funding our communication campaign and the Sasqua Hills Association legal fund, conducting research for us, distributing fliers, and speaking at the first public hearing.
“While we had petitioned for a Denial, we do celebrate the withdrawal of this Application, and recognize it was allowed to be filed only because the use was allowed by Special Permit, and was not included in the current Industrial Zone Moratorium that was passed last year. Following a short break ENNA will begin the efforts of reviewing ALL uses, as-of-right and Special Permit, throughout every East Norwalk building zone. We will make suggestions to Zoning on what should be removed, adjusted or added that will be in the best interest of East Norwalk, and to ensure a key purpose of zoning to preserve the rights of residential property owners and protect us from incompatible uses.”
Copy edit 4 a.m.