Wallingford officials review environmental impact of Amazon facility

reporter photo

WALLINGFORD — Amazon officials discussed plans this week to open a third facility in town, on the site of the demolished Bristol Myers Squibb facility.

The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission held a remote public hearing Tuesday evening on the application for redevelopment of 5 Research Parkway.

Calare Properties owns the 180 acre site. The applicant, Montante Construction, wants to build a 219,000-square-foot delivery station building and 715-space parking lot for Amazon.

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, also providing “last mile” service to customers like the proposed delivery station.

The total parcel on Research Parkway contains 33 acres of wetlands. Montante self-declared the project a significant impact application, which triggered the public hearing.

The plan would create about 45.2 acres of impervious surface area, which refers to hard surfaces like pavement or roofs that water cannot penetrate.

The commission didn’t grant the project its wetlands permit Wednesday, but voted unanimously to hire a peer reviewer for the erosion control plan as presented and look into hiring an independent soil erosion and sedimentation control monitor and inspector.

Michael Klein, of Davison Environmental, discussed existing conditions and resources on the property. 

The typical wetlands on the site is red maple swamp, Klein said. There are two large ornamental ponds surrounded by lawns. Wetlands on the site are bisected by sanitary sewer line. The Muddy River flows onto the site from the east.

A vernal pool survey found spotted salamander and wood frog, he said. Blue spotted salamander, a state listed species, were not found.

No activity is proposed within 750 feet of the vernal pool, which complies with best practices, Klein said.

They were looking for signs of other animals as well. No kestrels found, but a low box turtle presence was detected. A protection plan is in place for the box turtles.

‘Calare guy’ comments

About 60 people logged in during the course of the meeting, but it was unclear how many were members of the public.

Commission Chairman Jim Vitali kept the public comments limited to wetlands related issues only. He determined a couple questions not pertinent to wetlands, but allowed others about snow storage and removal, and potential oil and fuel spills.

Many members of the public wrote their questions in the remote meeting’s chat bar. 

Bill Manley, Calare CEO, asked in the chat bar if it was “true that this new plan produces almost 14 acres of woodlands compared to the previously approved plan.”

He did not initially identify himself as the property owner. When a meeting participant who was logged in as “JD” called Manley’s question “self-serving,” Manley replied, “Yes I am the Calare guy. I also care about the environment, and I am a person on planet Earth. I am hoping for a great outcome here.”

The commission plans to continue discussion on the application at a future meeting, the date and time of which are slated to be determined by next week.

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

"Yes I am the Calare guy. I also care about the environment, and I am a person on planet Earth."

-CEO Bill Manley
The proposed site plan at 5 Research Parkway in Wallingford. The building in brown is 219,000 square feet. Upland review in dark green, wetlands in light green. | Courtesy of BL Cos.
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