Waterbury aldermen agree deal to allow Amazon site survey
NAUGATUCK — Borough officials have approved the sale of land in the Naugatuck/Waterbury Industrial Park to Bluewater Property Group to allow the development company to formally begin a due diligence phase and determine whether construction plans an Amazon fulfillment facility are feasible.
The mayor and bourgeois council on Tuesday May 10 unanimously approved the agreement to buy and sell its 10.4 acres to Bluewater Property Group for $2.5 million. It comes after the Waterbury Board of Aldermen a day earlier approved the purchase and sale agreement for the same company to formally begin a due diligence phase on 157 acres in the city and Naugatuck.
Waterbury has two parcels – one of 40.8 acres and the other of 16 acres in the industrial park. Naugatuck Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the borough originally purchased the 10.4-acre parcel so Waterbury could gain access to his property. All entrances to the land are from the Naugatuck side of the Industrial Park near the Great Hill Road area.
Bluewater Property Group vice president Christina Bernardin said the purchase and sale agreement allows the business to close on the land in about a year and a half from now.
“It’s about starting feasibility studies and assessments to determine if the site is viable for development and construction. The site that was mentioned is contested from a development perspective,” Bernardin said. “There is a lot of topography on the site. There is rock that makes it more expensive to build and construct a facility. There are wetlands that need to be surveyed and there are permits that need to be approved by the state, the local municipalities.
The facility would bring up to 1,000 full-time permanent jobs and the development would bring about 300 construction jobs, according to Bernardin.
The development company has approximately six months to carry out a basic inspection and due diligence, after the sale agreement. Thereafter, the company has an additional 12 months to carry out the construction feasibility.
There are elements in place that will require construction to begin no later than 12 months after closure, Bernardin said.
Taxes generated by the facility would be split equally between Naugatuck and Waterbury, according to Bernardin.
State and local processes, including environmental and traffic studies, will still need to be done, Bernardin said.
Bernardin said they will begin engaging with their state Department of Transportation traffic engineers for a traffic study. After the sale agreement, the company would schedule meetings early in the process with the borough and city community in the coming months, she added.
Ahead of the borough council vote, a hybrid hearing drew just over half a dozen residents who voiced their concerns and criticized the proposed development.
Michael Cerchia, who lives on Beardsley Avenue, said he was concerned about the additional noise coming from Route 8 Exit 29 from incoming and outgoing trucks.
“The traffic this is going to generate is going to be amazing,” Cerchia said. “So they’re going to have to put a noise barrier down the off ramp so that our whole neighborhood is protected from that.”
Thomas Hyde, director of Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp., said part of the due diligence will be to make sure sound quality isn’t affected.
“If there are instances where the sound quality is affected, then yes, there should be remedies for the situations,” Hyde said.
Elizabeth Melendez, who lives in the Platts Mill Road area, said traffic and noise were the two issues that worried her.
“There are people who are going to take a shortcut around Plats Mill on top of that, not knowing the neighborhood, not knowing it’s little dead ends, are they going to get in and out confused,” Melendez said. . “We’re going to have like a frantic race where there’s a bunch of kids in this tiny little potty in this community.”
Len Yannielli and Christine Yannielli, who are the Gunntown Group’s Director of Community Outreach, Cultural Environmental Committee and Conservation Commissioner respectively, believe that this development would have negative impacts on the environment.
“This area needs to be preserved and protected,” said Christine Yannielli. “The devastation of 157 acres of forests will unnecessarily affect biodiversity and natural habitats and degrade natural resources.”
Burgess Charles P. Marenghi said the project was still in its infancy and should still move forward for now.
“We are not going to kill this project in its infancy,” Marenghi said. “If there is something wrong that will negatively impact the neighborhood or cause serious damage to the environment, that will come into the process. I think right now we have to accept the fact that it had to be industrial.