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OPINION: More discussion needed on Wallingford warehouses plan

OPINION: More discussion needed on Wallingford warehouses plan

As we all know, Frank Sinatra wanted to “wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep.” And we can readily picture him — in the wee small hours of the morning, as night owls wander from saloon to saloon in purring limousines and honking taxicabs — drinking booze and chasing broads (sorry about that, but I’m speaking Rat-Packese here and I kind of got carried away).

Anyway, that may be how things are in New York, New York, but in Wallingford, Connecticut, there are plenty of folks who do want to sleep, including those who live near the former Bristol-Myers Squibb campus on Research Parkway. And a number of them are dead-set against a proposal to develop about 80 acres of the 180-acre property for warehouse and office use.

Wallingford has been fortunate over the years to have the manicured lawns of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s attractive compound at the top of its grand list. But those days are over. Unable to find a suitable tenant for the place, Calare Properties has put this warehouse and office plan on the front burner.

But some residents are doing a slow burn as they read the specifications of this plan, one going so far as to call it “a blight on our community and a danger to our health.”

Questions arise, among them these: 

■ What kind of “warehouse and office use” will require 1.1 million square feet of floor space, 970 parking spaces, 243 trailer stalls and 246 loading docks?■What will the anticipated 1,832 trips between 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. on a typical day — the bulk of them tractor-trailer rigs, more than 200 of them during the peak hour of 3-4 p.m. alone, with more trucks overnight — mean for the level of noise? Reckoning, as a rule of thumb, that one big rig takes up about the same patch of road as 3½ cars, those 1,832 trucks would be the equivalent of 6,412 cars coming through in a 16-hour business day — even though the developer at one point had told the Wallingford Planning and Zoning Commission that the daily truck traffic would be "300 in, 300 out."■And how many times a day will a driver or two ignore the “no trucks” sign and use a residential street?■ And what about diesel fumes in the air and damage to town-owned roads and potential pollution of the water supply?■ Is this something Wallingford wants?■ Is this something Wallingford needs?

Residents who live in the area have been writing to this newspaper to raise these questions and more. They’re peeved and suspicious because so many of these facts and figures seemed to be a “done deal” before the first public meeting about the warehouse proposal was held by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

A special permit is needed because the land is in an IX zone, and the PZC is expected to vote on that issue Monday. But it wouldn’t be tragic if they should decide to put off the decision for a time, so there can be more discussion.

As Mr. Sinatra might say:

“The problem now of course is

To simply hold your horses

To rush would be a crime ...

Nice and easy does it every time.”

Reach Glenn Richter at