Warehouses planned along both sides of road dividing Meriden, Wallingford

reporter photo

A local businessman plans to develop vacant land into industrial parks — with offices and warehouse-distribution operations — along both sides of Northrop Road, which divides Meriden and Wallingford.

John Orsini, who owns Executive Auto Group, is in the process of working through the land use boards of both municipalities for permit approvals.

On the north side of Northrop Road, Orsini owns a 48-acre parcel at 850 Murdock Ave. in Meriden, in the city’s research and development district zone.

Last month, the Meriden Planning Commission unanimously approved a plan to build a 163,000-square-foot warehouse-distribution center on the site.

The warehouse-distribution tenant is a Branford operator who plans to consolidate warehouses and corporate offices in the facility.

According to the plan, no construction may occur within 100 feet of the wetlands that are located in several spots on the property near the Wallingford town line. 

Meanwhile in Wallingford, Orsini received a permit last week from the town’s wetlands commission for a plan to build a 250,000-square-foot warehouse on the south side of Northrop Road.

The proposal is to develop the vacant parcels at 1117 Northrop Road and 2 Northrop Industrial Park Road East, part of 46 acres of vacant land owned by Orsini, into a one-story warehouse-distribution facility with an office area, truck loading dock and three parking lots.

The entire site is in the Industrial Expansion (IX) zone. The site is less than 1,000 feet from the northwestern boundary of the Watershed Protection District for Mackenzie Reservoir, the main source of the town's drinking water.

There are two wetlands on the property totaling nearly 14 acres.

Both areas are wooded swamps surrounding watercourses, including Catlin Brook, that run south into North Farms Reservoir. The reservoir lies roughly 3,000 feet to the south of the property.

Orsini also owns the neighboring industrial park, which includes a Best Buy warehouse.

Amazon proposal

The northeast section of Wallingford — a mix of residential, commercial and industrial properties — has seen an increase in new development applications in recent years.

The site at 5 Research Parkway, formerly Bristol-Myers Squibb, was slated to become warehouses covering 1 million square feet. The Wallingford Planning and Zoning Commission rejected the plan two years ago due to the size and intensity of the proposed activity. Dozens of neighborhood residents also had voiced their objection to the plan, citing increased noise, traffic and pollution.

There’s a new plan proposed for the property that’s working its way through the Wallingford land use boards to build a 219,000-square-foot delivery station building and 15-space parking lot for Amazon.

The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission last discussed the project in November when members voted to hire a peer reviewer for the submitted erosion control plan, and possibly an independent soil inspector.

A public hearing on the proposed Amazon development before the Planning and Zoning Commission was scheduled for Monday, but the meeting was cancelled earlier in the day. Applicants generally secure their wetlands permit before going before the PZC.

The PZC withdrew a proposal, at the request of the mayor, at last month’s meeting to allow more types of businesses in the IX Zone, the Interchange District (I-5) Zone and the Watershed Protection District.

Most of the land within the I-5 zone and a large portion of land in the IX zone feeds into the Muddy River, which is the primary source for Mackenzie Reservoir. All land within the watershed for Mackenzie Reservoir is designated as a Watershed Protection District.

Reporter Mary Ellen Godin contributed to this story.

LTakores@record-journal.com203-317-2212Twitter: @LCTakores


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