WALLINGFORD — A contentious public meeting Monday night in Wallingford May decide the fate of the former Bristol Myers Squibb Property.
The sprawling and now abandoned 180-acre corporate campus is zoned for commercial use, but it also sits on wetland property and residents say the potential environmental impact would outweigh any economic benefit.
A sign outside alerts passersby to Monday’s public meeting of Wallingford’s Planning and Zoning Commission. “It’s being rammed through the planning and zoning commission,” said Attorney Patrick Heeran, who represents about 12 area property owners.
A Massachusetts based developer bought the land on Research Parkway and wants to demolish the buildings and build two warehouses. “It’s a very large property. Nothing is going on right now but doing warehouses is not a good idea. There are warehouses throughout Wallingford,” said Linda Wilkinson of Wallingford.
Residents have concerns about possible blasting, noise, and traffic issues, “That area is very tough, it’s congested. I think it could be a problem,” remarked Kevin Karr of Wallingford. They are also concerned about how the construction would impact water quality. Specifically, well water and a reservoir. “During the project they are concerned about the impact on the Muddy River,” said Vincent Cervoni, the Chair of Wallingford’s Town Council. The river’s sediment doesn’t settle easily, and runs into McKenkie Reservoir, which is a major source of Wallingford’s water supply. “The project itself is absolutely monstrous and I would question whether this is the right property given that it is in a watershed area,” said Heeran.
If constructed, the warehouses would be the largest commercial buildings in town. “If the project is going to be approved, I hope the developer will do everything in their power to appease the concerns of the neighbors,” said Cervoni.
The developer bought the property last February, and they’re still not saying who would operate the proposed warehouses.