WALLINGFORD — After three hours of discussion Monday night, the Planning and Zoning Commission held off deciding on a plan to redevelop the former Bristol Myers Squibb site into an Amazon facility, opting to continue talks next month.
The site developer, Montante Construction, got to present its case for a 219,000-square-foot, 17-dock delivery station building and 715-space parking lot on the 180-acre site. The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission approved the application April 7.
Amazon already operates a sortation center, another type of warehouse, nearby at 29 Research Parkway, while Amazon Logistics operates a warehouse and distribution center on South Cherry Street, providing “last mile” service to customers.
Jessica Schumer, economic development manager with Amazon, said the 5 Research Parkway facility would also be a “last mile” delivery service, operating 24/7.
Waves of van drivers, who work 10-hour shifts, would pick up packages for delivery between 9 a.m. and noon, she said. The first vans out would arrive back around 7 p.m. About 300 to 400 vans would be active on the site each day.
Flex drivers, who use personal vehicles to make deliveries, would operate between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and not return to the site unless they had an undeliverable package.
Tractor trailer trucks would deliver packages to the warehouse mostly overnight, with 25 to 35 trucks visiting the site during a 24-hour time frame.
Residents of the High Hill Road area weighed in on potential impacts to their quality of life, the rural character of the neighborhood and the town’s drinking water supply.
Bob DeMaio, of 14 Marie Lane, brought up the town purchase of 94 acres at 218 High Hill Road in 2000, saying that it was intended to be protected open space.
“That’s our neighborhood,” DeMaio said. “The town purchased High Hill Road property to preserve its rural character 20 years ago. This application, unfortunately, would destroy that for area residents.”
The commission denied a previous application to redevelop the site first presented in 2018, in which Calare Properties proposed building warehouses that covered about 1 million square feet.
Calare ran out of time before company officials could present everything to the commission’s satisfaction, specifically an updated traffic study. It was one of the reasons why some commission members didn’t feel comfortable approving the application, which was denied in January 2019.