The Sunday Essay: The Costco Arguments

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Costco in Branford Rendering

Rendering of the proposed Costco in Branford. 

A group of residents, led by Democratic leader Penny Bellamy, has hired an attorney in their fight against first selectman Jamie Cosgrove and the potential Costco in Branford.

Sources indicate that the group Branford Citizens for Responsible Development has hired New Haven based attorney Keith Ainsworth to help in their fight against the Costco Master Plan, which actually combined existing approvals on some lots and combined them to create an overall plan for the area directly off of exit 56.

Ainsworth is well known for representing resident groups fighting land use issues. He is representing a group in North Branford fighting against a proposed propane storage area, and previously worked with groups fighting cell towers.

The group, called “Branford Citizens for Responsible Development,” much like a similar group in Guilford that was formed when Costco was proposed on the “rock pile.” While the title implies they are for development, their website shows no development ideas or plans, rather, it attacks Costco and the proposed development at exit 56.

The group is far from a grassroots effort. Made up mostly of Democrats and Stony Creek residents, the group was started by Penny Bellamy, a Democratic operative and defacto leader of the local Democratic party. Bellamy runs what is known as the Hilltop Brigade, which organizes groups to elect Democrats. When the effort was initially announced at a Stony Creek Association meeting, residents were encouraged to reach out to Bellamy if they wished to join.

The group has created a website to lay out their arguments. We will take a closer look at the argument here.

A look at the arguments

The arguments for the Master Plan being proposed are laid out in this Sunday Essay, and center around a design that minimizes traffic impacts and makes use of Costco’s investment in infrastructure, investment that would not happen without Costco’s dollars, to bring together 5 different land owner to create one comprehensive plan. The location directly off of exit 56 is ideal, and recent improvements to the area make access from a variety of points easier.

Also, the public in Branford is overwhelmingly behind bringing Costco to town.

The opponents are working to paint a picture of increased traffic, a monster development, and one that is against the character and planning in Branford.

Let’s take a look at the facts.

Zoning.

The underlying zoning on the site is Industrial (IG-2). Opponents have stated this precludes retail.

It doesn’t. The existing zone, according to Branford’s current regulations, allows retail of under 3,000 square feet in the zone with a special exception. This is key as 2 of the parcels included in the Master Plan call for retail at less than 3,000 square feet, and thus are already properly zoned.

Also included in an IG-2 are banks and fast food restaurants, with or without a drive-through. It is very possible 2-3 of the parcels will be either a bank, as has already been discussed in the area, or fast food with a drive through, such as a Panera Bread or McDonalds.

Also included in an IG-2 zone are gas stations.

This being the case, 4-5 of the parcels are already in zones that would see very easy approval on their own.

The remaining zones, not including Costco for now, saw retail approved about 15 years ago on a far more dense project. While that approval has expired, having previous approvals is key, as the town found out the hard way when previous approvals were in place for residential on the Tabor property.

Costco, depending on how one views it, may or may not fall out of the zone. Costco is a warehouse, members only operation, and warehouse sales are permitted, with a special exception, on the site as currently zoned. If one views it as retail, then zoning needs to be changed. Costco is asking for the zoning to be changed.

What does the Plan of Conservation and Development say?

Opponents of the Master Plan are pushing the idea that the Costco Master Plan is against the Plan of Conservation and Development. To do so, on their website, they take portions of the “plan” and use it. For example:

Costco PDD Opponents

Qualifications for a PDD, or Master Plan. The highlighted portions done by opponents of the Costco Plan.

What makes this interesting is that they clearly, in the highlighted parts, focus on what they believe helps them, but ignore what clearly doesn’t. This portion asks for 3 things for approval of a project:

  1. That they be “consistent with any comprehensive plan of development adopted by the Commission"
  2. When the proposals “are located on tracks of sufficient size to accommodate harmonious design of buildings, structures and facilities”
  3. And “when another zoning district could not be appropriately established to accomplish such purposes.”

First, the Plan of Conservation and Development is quite excited about development at exit 56. To quote the Plan: “Exit 56 has the advantage of good highway access, sewer and water service, and large parcels of undeveloped land that offers great opportunity for high quality development.” Clearly, if one considers this Master Plan good development, it is being encouraged by the Plan of Conservation and Development.

Second, there is no question the development is of sufficient size to create a harmonious design. A road is being created on the site, off the main roadways, that connects the parcels on the site, and the project will feature a harmonious paving plan, wetland plan, tree plan, lighting plan and cohesiveness in multiple other areas.

Finally, the third aspect is that such a plan could not be met elsewhere. Opponents of the plan have pointed to exit 53 as an option. But this simply cannot work in the near future, as we explained in detail here and was also explained by state representative Lonnie Reed, who stated that even if all the different property owners were ready to go, which they are not, the project would still be 5 years away.

When we look in detail at the objections presented by the opposition, we find the case falls apart; the Master Plan satisfies the three main components needed for approval.

Traffic

We have detailed what the plan is doing to address traffic, the new access road, the additional of right turns lanes, and more, in previous articles. Opponents have greatly exaggerated the traffic impacts, on one graphic posted to their website, they estimate an insane 6.8 million cars per year.

Costco Opponents Traffic Numbers

Obviously, this number is made up and represents fearmongering, but that does not mean traffic is not a concern. Traffic is nowhere near that number, if we use very basic math, taking the average annual revenue from a Costco, 160 million, divided by the average check at Costco of just over $100 (per their CEO), one gets nowhere near that number. And comparing it to parking lots of a movie theater, as if all the traffic will converge on exit 56 at once, is absurd.

Editors Note: Initially we reported average tickets at $400; this was their website ticket average. Even if, for arguments sake, we use $100 ticket average, we still end up with 1.6 million cars a year, nowhere near the 6.8 million opponents are stating.

But what do know is that any development will mean increased traffic. We do not need to revisit the specific design aspects that address the traffic, and the comparison between this proposal and the “as-of-right” development on the site, but we can look at what has taken place outside the project in the recent years in expectation for development.

The Plan of Conservation and Development does raise traffic concerns about exit 56. “However,” the report reads, “it is also projected to experience severe traffic congestion, even with the current zoning designation. The South Central Connecticut Council of Governments projects that traffic will increase by about 260 percent by the year 2025 to about 26,800 vehicles per day."

But, we also have to take into account how that was arrived at. The POCD used a 2003 traffic study that was highly debated when the POCD was developed. As most in town know, major improvements have taken place on the exit and Leete’s Island Road, and the surrounding areas.

For example, we have the head of Special Projects in Branford, Terry Elton, writing in an effort to attract development to Branford last year by touting the towns infrastructure projects:

“Meanwhile, another critical intersection improvement project has been completed at the juncture of Rte. 139 (North Branford Rd.) and School Ground Rd,” he writes. “At the same time, design plans are being finalized for a new School Ground Rd. bridge over the Branford River. That project will be followed by the replacement of the Rte. 139 bridge and related road improvements.

“Combined, these distinct projects will result in marked improvements to the various Rte. 1 and I-95 feeder roads on the east end of town and will have a positive impact on development opportunities in that area.

What is clear is that the major infrastructure improvement that have been done at exit 56 were done in expectation of development. The traffic argument is a weak one, as the town is publicly touting those improvement in an effort to attract development.

We should focus on Bioscience.

Opponent of the Costco plan have argued that we are better off attracting bioscience and tech to Branford. No one is opposed to doing so.

First, the two are not mutually exclusive. Employees in the biosciences and tech sectors enjoy Costco as much as anyone else, and having access to shopping like Costco may well help attract families to Branford.

But there is more, and it has to do with the wrongful belief that bioscience has been a boon to the Branford tax base. It hasn’t. Why?

First, the companies coming here are rarely making any large investment in property. They are coming with the aid of million is low interest loans from the state, and those low interest loans become grants, that do not require repayment, if certain thresholds of employment are met. These companies are not building new facilities, they generally fill in vacancies in existing structures, thus providing almost not increase in property tax revenues. In fact, for many of them, the end goal is to be purchased by a larger corporation. Branford saw the impact of this recently when local businesses were purchased and moved out of town.

At a recent forum on the bioscience industry in the state, state Representative Lonnie Reed stated that one of the attractive developments in town for bioscience was the Atlantic Wharf proposal, specifically because they were new, quality apartments, as employees in those businesses are not looking to purchase homes. With the volatility in bioscience, employees are more transient, and fewer are settling down in town.

This does not mean the move to become a bioscience “hub” is bad in any way. If it works, and the companies that were attracted here stay beyond the millions granted them by the state, it can be an excellent long term benefit to the town. But this is simply a gamble by the state and town, we will not know for years if it is paying off. But in the short term, it means little to the tax rolls and grand list, which is what plays a role in offsetting taxes.

What also needs to be clear is that many of the businesses that came to Branford filled vacancies in properties initially built by Charlie Weber and Al Secondino. Those developers are also the ones working on the Costco Master Plan, as the demand simply doesn’t exist to build more space for bioscience right now, and at least not until we have indications beyond the state grants. There are developers that have built on speculation in the past, something no one is willing to do in this economy. Costco is investing tens of millions into Branford and its infrastructure, something the bioscience industry has not shown any desire to do at this point.

Cost of Services

That the opponents have made a big issue of the potential increase in town costs is no secret, Democrats have repeatedly tried to take what is a Planning and Zoning matter to other town bodies. After multiple lawsuits centered on the towns interference in Planning and Zoning, level heads have prevailed, as leader of the town board, of both political parties, have rejected this attempt.

That has not stopped the opponents from disseminating some questionable information on the proposed development. Consider this chart:

Costco Cost of Services by Opponents

A propaganda chart created by Branford Citizens for Responsible Development to fight Costco in Branford.

The opponents actually pull numbers from the air, estimating that the additional cost of services will be $230,000, made up from $100,000 each from fire and police and $30,000 from public works. But some of those departments give a different story.

For example, the opponents use the Costco in Milford as an example, stating 192 police service calls were made to Costco in Milford, and then using some math which they do not show, estimate that the new development will require 354 additional calls.

First, what is counted needs to be included. Police, for example, respond to calls, but in their charting, they include calls they initiated, such as motor vehicle checks and tickets. Actual demand is far less. It appears the opponents have taken some of their information from propaganda writer Marcia Chambers to arrive at these inaccurate numbers.

Also key is that police are not sitting in a circle at the station waiting for calls. Exit 56, with a truck stop, lumber yard, Stop and Shop, Dunkin Donuts, Popeye’s chicken, Starbucks, a liquor store, a shellfish company, a gun manufacturer and more, police are already routinely in the area. These are not generally special trip to exit 56.

On the fire department, the propaganda goes even further from the facts. The burden on the fire department is in medical calls, thus focused on medical facilities, not retail. For example, let’s compare two locations over the last two years and their calls, provided by the Branford Fire Department:

Fire department calls to Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Big Y combined, 2013-14: 82 total

Fire department calls to GardenSide Retirement Community: 2013-14: 401 total.

In the 82 calls for the retail stores, only 9 were motor vehicle accidents.

The belief that the Costco development will impact fire department resources is a myth. Both the police and fire department have been looking for additional staffing for years, in fact, the fire department is hoping to add two new staff members with a grant next year. Opponents of the Costco plan are trying to connect any new staff to the Costco plan; it simply is propaganda.

It is true that discussions are taking place about building an outpost for the fire department on route 1 near exit 56. This is a product of the department simply jumping on a developer to help fund what they have been requesting for years, the need is not new. Fire chief Shaun Heffernan has stated that if this happens, he will simply station existing staff there, and not require additional staff for Costco. The new Alzheimers assisted living facility approved last month with no objections will have a far greater impact than any Costco Master Plan.

In Conclusion

While opponents of the Costco plan have hired an attorney, created a website and tried to raise the issue in town meetings, the arguments remain weak at best. Some of the information they have provided simply is made up or pure fantasy. They have attributed costs to the Plan that are simply not accurate, and made up traffic numbers.

The argument that the plan is against the Plan of Conservation and Development rings hollow as well. Yes, the developers are requesting a zone change, but the POCD encourages smart development at exit 56, and a close look at the plan as submitted indicates a careful look at town needs, infrastructure and traffic issues, and creates a cohesive plan. While some prefer a focus on bioscience businesses, none have shown a desire to invest heavily in infrastructure or building in Branford, and while a bioscience focus is fine, it does not preclude bringing an extremely popular retail outlet like Costco to town.

(49) comments

Anonymous

What do you have to say now Chris?

Anonymous

Hom-min-na...Hom-min-na...Hom-min-na...

Anonymous

If attracting bio-tech and related industries are so important to the group, there is a lovely land tract available - it's called the Bittersweet property. And the close proximity of shopping, banking, dining, and gassing up so close on the proposed Costco development would make it even more convenient!

Anonymous

This guy loves Costco.

Anonymous

If there is no possibility for increased service cost to our departments, why can't the first selectman do the study to show that there will be no costs incurred to the town?

Peter Black

Who is saying there is no possibility for increased costs? Of course there will be increased costs. However, even the opponents say the town will come out $170K ahead every year. Their estimates are $100K of costs each for police and fire, essentially dedicating a full-time firefighter and police officer to this single project. The figure is utterly ludicrous for the firefighter. As for the police officer, it might be possible, as much of what the police department does as shopping centers is not responding to trouble, but looking for it. Specifically, the police spend a lot of time patrolling the Walmart parking lot scanning license plates for expired registrations and insurance, etc. This surveillance can generate a lot of tickets in short time, especially at Walmart, whose low-income shoppers may have trouble affording insurance and registration. However, it is purely discretionary.
It is possible that biotech would be more tax positive than Costco. It is also positive that it could impose more costs, particularly if the industry dealt with dangerous pathogens. In any case, the comparison is pointless because, there is no proposal for industrial development. So, opponents are really saying that they would rather have nothing than, by their calculations, $170K every year.
I should add that opponents have not mentioned increased income to our WPCA. Our treatment plant has excess capacity, and it is likely that under our EDU equivalent billing formula the development would be very positive for the WPCA.

Peter Black

According to data in the Farm Bureau's PA 490 booklet, commercial and industrial property consumes about 30 cents in services for every dollar it pays in taxes. Residential consumes between $1.10 and $1.20 in services for every dollar it pays in taxes.

Kelly05119

Because that study will cost tens of thousands of dollars. I know its a profound change from the former administration to not throw away taxpayer dollars on something neither the First Selectman nor the RTM can control in any way shape or form, but if you'd like you and the vaunted organization for responsible development can band together and pay for that study yourselves.

Anonymous

I do not wish to see Costco in our town. It already is over run with too much unnecessary development, too many condos. What was once a very nice town is becoming citified. Traffic congestion & crime are bound to go up with more big box stores. We already have the cops at Walmart much of the time because of increased crime. Leave our town alone, let's keep some charm here.

Not everyone buys in bulk. I have been noticing for some time now the changes the grocery stores have been making. Now it's buy 1 get 1 free & the price is equal to buying 2 usually, so it's not a bargain, just a way to force the consumer to buy in bulk, disguised as getting something for free..When one shops for 2 people one doesn't need to buy in bulk.

Peter Black

PersonalIy, do not want to see it either. But I do not have millions of dollars to buy the land, nor can I afford to pay $200K plus annually to the town to make up for the lost tax revenue. Like you, I shop for two, so shopping in bulk isn't that great a deal, although I suspect my wife will use it anyway. I am sure that if you offered the parties more money than they will make with the Costco deal, they will not build there. Otherwise, it's their land and they have a right to develop it.
BTW, I do not like Mexican food, so if you want to buy out Su Casa, etc., too, that's fine with me. But of course, as with Costco, perhaps it's not all about me, or you. Lots of people love Su Casa, and lots love Costco, especially those with larger households than ours.

AGL

As a 3rd generation resident of Branford, I would like to see redevelopment of the old Cherry Hill Shopping Center....to you new short timers that would be the large paved area above the commuter lot and to the left of Wal-Mart on the West side of town. This land was once home to a large department store, lumber/home improvement store, supermarket, discount department store and a bowling ally in the back. All these were there opereating at the same time....and guess what???? No traffic issues. I grew up in the area I know. Want to know what was there before that development? Cow fields. Now look a the property...a vast wasteland. Let this be a lesson for the East side of town. I am very, very sad to see what our once nice shoreline town has become due to over development all over town.

Peter Black

I would love to see it, too. If we had land use laws like England, we could direct development there, rather than to green fields. This being the United Sates, landowners have a right to develop their land, and various landowners may compete to offer their land to developers. Regardless of the ownership issues, exit 53 is hampered by the lack, decades after toll removal, of north/east side access and exit ramps. Installation of these ramps is further hampered by environmental laws that protect wetlands. Why was it developed in the 1950's? I can only guess that JM Fields, etc., prized proximity to denser population to the west over easy access from the sparsely populated east. of course, there was no competition to the east, and little traffic on North Main between Cherry Hill and Cedar Street. I do, however, as of 1964, remember traffic problems under the railroad bridge, and on the Hill. While western dwellers could get offend on at exit 53, that route involved a toll. Going over the Hill would avoid the toll, and may have den shorter as well.

Pat Santoro

Is the BCRD paying Atty Ainsworth's legal bills for this action? Maybe it is time to add a Recall provision to the Town Charter? The State of Connecticut currently has no recall provision. That doesn't stop local municipalities from adding one to their town charter. Currently, Bristol, Milford,New Haven,Stratford and Westport have a provision in place. Common grounds for a recall as follows: Conduct which relates to and adversely affects the administration of his or her office and adversely affects the rights and interests of the general public.
Act of malfeasance, oppression and gross partiality. I think it would be a good tool for checks and balances. A Recall can be costly and cause chaos, but it does give the town citizens a venue and a forum for recourse. Without such a provision, you would have to base any actions against a public official according to an Ethics provision.

Anonymous

Did anyone see a discussion about how many locally owned businesses would close? Costco is the largest distributor of wine. Gas stations nearby will be effected. Stop and Shop will also loose business to Costco. Costco's markets to consumers to spend more money on stuff that they do not need believing they are getting a good deal. The average consumer spends $400 per trip! How much disposable income will be available tor other retail? How much food is wasted? Take a monthly trip to Orange, CT. We don't need another eye sore on the shoreline.

Anonymous

Pave down more undeveloped/ farmland and put up another parking lot.

Peter Black

The only locally owned businesses I know there are Gabel's Wine Shop and DePalma's Jewelers. Gabel's might move again (I patronized it in the center, but not in its present location.) Stop & Shop will be affected, just as A&P, Grocery Basket, Food Fair and Finast were when it came to town. It is foreign owned, so the the question is would you rather patronize a US corporation or a foreign one? As for the gas stations, Costco requires membership, so I suspect few of those coming off the highway will go there. TA may be affected, but it will still have its truck business.

Anonymous

Those that do not want Costco should have left the Cooke property as farmland.

Anonymous

Pat who do you want recalled?

Anonymous

I imagine we will see naysayers stating all the same places predicted to close because of Walmart will now finally close because of Costco.

Anonymous

Might I suggest that everybody stop at Regal Cinema Thursday night prior to the hearing.......a large order of popcorn will be needed for the meeting!

Anonymous

It's a shame the "strong" arguments seem to be so political, and of made up "facts". COSTCO will fit in perfectly at exit 56 ! Everything about this addition to Branford at this location makes sense. We all heard the samething when Walmart was coming. Wow what a disaster that turned out. The only thing that changed is they brought more tax dollars to our town. Anyone that wants Good old Branford should have moved to Vermont 3o years ago. Everything changes folks, growth is good and yes this is smart growth. People that can't deal with change turn out to be the forgotten minority. With out Condos, Retail and New Business we would probably be paying double the taxes we now pay. Our first selectman has no political agenda and for all that have there eyes open, see that he only pursues what is best for the town of Branford, and its citizens.
I can't wait for Costco !!!

Pat Santoro

To Anonymous 11:59: In answer to your question, any elected official who is out to hurt the town. Branford unfortunately has just been through, prior to the current administration, a dishonest and corrupt administration which cost taxpayers millions and remnants of that group still exists and are playing the same, tired games to act in their own best interests.Not all members of this group are elected officials, but there are enough of them to take pause and really question their true intent.

Anonymous

Didn't the Town just settle a lawsuit that it was destined to lose over trying to deprive the landowner at Route 56 of his right to develop the property?
Why go down a losing road a second time?

Anonymous

Those in favor of Costco: remember to write to P&Z!
Please send a short letter to : Branford PZC, P.O. Box 150, Branford , Ct. 06405. You may also fax it to: (203)315-2188 or email it to: c/o Acting Town Planner Rich Stoecker to:rstoecker@branford-ct.gov. or send to both. Remember that there are many opponents of Costco. If you are in favor, you must write a letter.

Anonymous

Just a few fun facts for those pushing biotech. Allow me to point to several facts for those of you who follow the bio herd. The failure rate for BIO start ups is 90%. Either you win big or you lose big. Since 1980, of more than 1800 biotechs,

Anonymous

The fact is Branford, that Costco is a winner in every way. As a Corporation in a town, all 600 locations love them, as a place to shop, well the millions of their customers who continue to be dues paying members year in and year out prove it is the place to shop for values and service like no other "retail" store before them. As for their employees, ask anyone of them.....a Costco cashier will earn almost if not double that of a Walmart cashier. Costco ranks up with Google as a place to work. It is the only retail company paying time and half for Sunday work, that closes for every major holiday, and that provides full benefits for part time (24 hours per week) employees. AND it treats it resources and vendors like no retail enterprise ever has. I could write a book about their virtues.
I witnessed the Zoning board meetings when Milford was seeking permission to build. The strong protestors, who for the most part a personal ax to grind all of which proved to be allusions that proved to be incorrect. And every strong protester subsequently became valued members.
I speak as an 82 year old man, who spent 36 years in his own business selling to major retailers in the Northeast, and the last 22 years employed by Costco. I am not afraid to provide my name just in case those from Stony Creek, a place I have admired all my life and I certainly would not want anything to deter its' beauty and serenest. Richard Zitser

Anonymous

Does anyone know who the local republicans will be putting up to run for First Selectman?

Anonymous

Are you involved in this crazy little stop Costco scheme too Joy?

Anonymous

That was rude. I'm newer to this town and wasn't sure who would be running. A neighbor of mine told me they weren't sure if the person in there now would be running again. Thanks for making me feel stupid.

Peter Black

The most likely candidates are the incumbent First Selectman, Jamie Cosgrove, for the Republicans, and RTM Minority Leader Chris Sullivan, for the Democrats. Cosgrove won the last election with about 60% of the votes, and he is in his first 2-year term. Sullivan ran for the Democratic nomination last election, but lost the nomination to Andy Campbell, who in turn lost to Cosgrove. -Peter Black, 3rd District (Short Beach) RTM Rep.

Anonymous


Welcome to Branford. You should call town hall - or walk in - and sit down for a chat with the First Selectman. I would wager a guess he will run again. He is smart, caring, charming, handsome, but most importantly cares about Branford - not a political agenda.

Anonymous

Those pushing for more Biotech have short memories. Curagen, Neurogen, 454 Life Sciences, Diabetes Development.

Peter Black

Yes, Neurogen destroyed the arts community at Bittersweet, then went bankrupt, Now, we have an Army Reserve Center there which is off the tax rolls and outside the jurisdiction of the town and state. But if some one gets hurt there, they will call our EMS.

Anonymous

Biotech- 90% failure rate. Over the last 10 yrs 8 drugs accounted for 80% of the revenue growth. Of the 1800 biotech companies started

Anonymous

It was Curagen that destroyed Bittersweet.

Anonymous

I'm looking forward to reading Steve's notes of last night's PZC meeting

Anonymous

What a terrible article !! I love that no mention is made that there will be 7 OTHER businesses that can be just about anything. And no real approval would be needed. XPect is leaving CT, I guess if they had been there, Another empty building would be there. Some believe that maybe Christmas Tree Shop my show up. YET NO CAR TRAFFIC for that is noted anywhere in this "ANALYSIS". Only attacks on people and data for which no one can prove would dramatically different. And it was noted by several people that IF this is approved, ALL property along that area North and South of RT 1 could be just like Exit 9 off of 91 or like The Orange/Milford Rt 1 Carnage. Funny, the citizens of Guilford thought it was bad one exit away and stopped it, However the author loves saying it is a Stony Creek Democrat that is leading a Political type fight !! One thing, I got several people who traditionally voted more Democrat than Republican in Branford to support the Cosgrove Ticket. Never did I expect him to try to turn all of Branford into a huge construction site.

Remember there is Property that could add Costco, without all the other stores , but maybe one or two next to Walmart That is already zoned for this type of application !! NO Special exception needed. Bet many would back the add of ONLY Costco, without changing the zoning from the 2008 plan to make the exit 56-57 area a Retail Nightmare. Some I spoke to, in favor of Costco, assumed that it was going in that area. When told where, they asked why out there ??


Remember the Town Plan was done both by Republicans and Democrats. !!! NOT just ONE PARTY !!

Steve Mazzacane Staff
Steve Mazzacane

Now let’s fact check your comment:

“No mention is made that there will be 7 OTHER businesses that can be just about anything. And no real approval would be needed.” ---

We reference the “Master Plan” multiple times in the article, that includes all the parcels. Also, site plan approvals will be needed on every single one, and some of the sites are already in the zone. ---

“XPect is leaving CT, I guess if they had been there, Another empty building would be there.” ---

Comparing Costco and XPect makes zero sense. Durata, a biotech company is also leaving Branford, as have many other. Should we abandon trying to attract biotech? ---

“YET NO CAR TRAFFIC for that is noted anywhere in this "ANALYSIS". Only attacks on people and data for which no one can prove would dramatically different.” ---

We don’t have to provide an analysis, as we know the legal process of approval. The developer will provide a traffic study, and the town has that peer reviewed. An opposition posting an insane 6.8 million cars coming is pure fearmongering and nonsense. ---

“Funny, the citizens of Guilford thought it was bad one exit away and stopped it, However the author loves saying it is a Stony Creek Democrat that is leading a Political type fight.” ---

Are you saying Guilford citizens are fighting the Guilford Costco? Nonsense. The leader is Penny Bellamy. This was made clear at a Stony Creek Association meeting, and their minutes reflect that. ---

“Never did I expect him (Cosgrove) to try to turn all of Branford into a huge construction site. ---

Cosgrove ran on Costco at exit 56. It was a key part of the debate in the last election. ---

“Remember there is Property that could add Costco, without all the other stores , but maybe one or two next to Walmart That is already zoned for this type of application.” ---

No, it cant go to exit 53. Do some research please. ---

“Remember the Town Plan was done both by Republicans and Democrats. !!! NOT just ONE PARTY !!” ---

The town plan supports development at exit 56, so I’m glad you see this has bipartisan support. Cosgrove, running on Costco, received bi-partisan support, and those in favor of the plan extends well over party lines.

Anonymous

Well last night's meeting was a collectivized freak show of worn-out Unk worshipers who imagine they can STOP COSTCO and ride it to victory in the way STOP TABOR drove Unk off a cliff and left Cosgrove as the only adult to take charge. Only problem is, Tabor was a vanity project for Bill Horne and his Unkist clique and the town had no desire to choke on another $20 mil for something having to do with Tabor. Speaking of that, I took off after Penny Bellamy started yapping at the podium. How she has the nerve to stand in public after what she did to us is beyond me. Anyway, there are about 2,000 Costco members in town, if I recall. It occurs to me that if the Dems brag about killing off Costco as a campaign pledge, that's 2,000 voters of likely Dem and Indie registration who're likely to be upset their promise of a drive across town to get to Costco won't happen after all, and it'll still be a long ride to Orange. 2,000 votes is well within the margin of victory in this town. Throwing them away means throwing the election away.

Anonymous

All of this talk about ex town attorney Penny Bellamy. How's our new town attorney Bill Aniskovich making out? I think the branford seven should do a human interest story on old Bill.

Steve Mazzacane Staff
Steve Mazzacane

We have researched what was relevant about his performance, the towns legal budget is dropping an impressive 45% this year. However, because the legal costs of suits Penny Bellamy got us in years ago were so high, the town decided, back then, to actually bond them, so those are still part of the debt service taxpayers are paying in this budget. Thank you for the suggestion.

Anonymous

Is it just me or does this site seem like a pro Costco source of propaganda? Here we have an essay written shortly before a public hearing. It is clearly pro Costco (a better description would be anti the anti Costco folks). If it were a news site, it would have covered the public hearing that took place long enough ago to write and post a NEWS article. So, it guess this site is what it is..... (nothing wrong with that)

Steve Mazzacane Staff
Steve Mazzacane

Unfortunately for you, we do not have any openings for editor at this news site at this time, but please send in your resume, with your real name, for future consideration. Having heard from our editor, you can expect full coverage of the entire public hearing when it is complete, and possibly articles examining the arguments presented in the interim. We look forward to receiving your resume for consideration.

Anonymous

Anon 12:54 Where in God's name did you go to school, Branford High? By its very definition, an ESSAY portrays a specific argument or point of view. Here is Webster's listing for the word:
essay
noun es·say \ˈe-ˌsā; senses 1, 2 & 4 also e-ˈsā\
: a short piece of writing that tells a person's thoughts or opinions about a subject

In other words, this is meant to be an opinion piece, not a just-the-facts-ma'am article. As for the hearing, I would think something will be posted after the holiday. Or perhaps you can write something in an opposing viewpoint as a letter to the editor.

Anonymous

I went to the hearing, and can tell you it was an experience, being a reader of this site, to see how accurate Mazzacane is. the first article on here on the Costco plan was presented, and it was like I knew it all already. then the opponents spoke, and they were all the things this site already wrote about, and I already knew they were not accurate. the anan12:54 commentor is upset there is no article on what happened when if they are a reader, which it seems they are, they knew what was going to happen ahead of time. the opponents had very weak arguments, i dont think the people on stage feel for it, they have to be used to the nimby stuff by now.

Anonymous

This is anon 12:54. I guess you guys shoot before you read. The comment ends with 'nothing wrong with that" -- also, I am fully aware that this is an essay and it is the appropriate place to have opinion interwoven with the facts. I have no problem with the way it is written or its contents. The observation has to do with the site in general. A number of us were not able to get to the public hearing and rely on this and other sites as sources of news. This is a request for a news article that would give the people not at the hearing an idea of how it went -- who spoke, issues raised, reaction from the audience, board, etc. I was even honored to get a response directly from Steve. Just how big is your staff at the moment? How about some news -- the old fashioned kind of just reporting on things? Thanks!

Anonymous

2:58: If that's what you want see if Pam Johnson writes about the meeting in the Sound. She is the only one who tells it as it happened. No color, no opinion, no analysis, no pro, no con, only what went on.

Anonymous

I used to read the sound, now I dont bother. I want facts, not just what i can see watching the video of the meeting. I was at the meeting, like the other commenter said, all the arguments were already refuted here. hopefuly these people opposing it wont e able to speak twice, or else they will just take over again. the people for costco were leaving pretty upset that the others took over the meeting.

Anonymous

the sound and the register are in the same boat, both suck. that still makes them better than the rat.

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