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Article Published November 18, 2021

Branford Inland Wetlands Reviewing Amazon 'Last Mile' Facility Application

By Pam Johnson/

Branford's Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) is continuing its review of an inlands, wetlands and watercourses site application for a proposed Amazon "last mile" ecommerce delivery station on previously developed, currently vacant land on Commercial Parkway. Commercial Parkway is accessed via West Main Street/Route 1 and situated near I-95 Exit 53.

As previously reported in September, Amazon representatives met with First Selectman Jamie Cosgrove and Town staff to share a preliminary plan, followed by the company's request to present its preliminary proposal to Branford's Economic Development Commission (EDC), with that discussion taking place at an EDC meeting that month. Cosgrove said reviewing the plan addressed questions and provided information which gave him, staff and members of the EDC confidence in the conceptual plan introduced by Amazon.

On Oct. 8, applicant FSI Acquisitions LLC (Milford) and owners 49 Commercial Parkway LLC and Hamliton Branford LLC (Clinton) submitted the IWC application as the first step in the process toward receiving approval to construct the facility here. Members of the IWC received the application and heard a preliminary overview at its October 14 meeting; scheduled and completed a site walk of the property on Nov. 3; and heard the applicant team's formal presentation of the plans at its Nov. 4 meeting.

The IWC Nov. 4 discussion will be continued at the next IWC meeting on Dec. 9, when some modifications will be brought back by the applicant with regard to storm water management, based on queries raised by the commission. Those revised materials were received Nov. 17 for the IWC to review on Dec. 9, said Jaymie Frederick, Town of Branford Inland Wetlands Agent. A Dec. 9 IWC meeting agenda has not yet been posted; but will be posted in the required advance time ahead of the Dec. 9 meeting. Agendas, meeting and application materials can be accessed online at  at www.branford.ct-gov

Located at 49 & 81-111 Commercial Parkway, the entire property for the proposed development is approximately 21.5 acres in area. Before the property was cleared of its former buildings, the site was home to a Sero Shirt Company warehouse and retail outlet, spread over two buildings totaling approximately 179,545 square feet. The proposed development would construct a 98,205 square foot warehousing and distribution facility.

As described to the IWC in the application's project narrative, in addition to the construction of the warehousing and distribution facility, the site would be developed to include a total of 213 passenger car stalls, 9 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compatible stalls, 542 delivery van fleet stalls, 50 delivery van queuing stalls, 50 van loading stalls and 9 truck loading spaces.

While there are no wetlands on the property, and no planned or proposed work within the regulated wetlands, there is approximately 36,294 square feet of activity proposed within the 100-foot regulated areas on and adjacent to the property. There is approximately 1.27 acres of 100-foot regulated areas on the property. Additionally, there is approximately 1.18 acres of area occupied by slopes exceeding 25 percent in grade.

According to the information under IWC review, the site would not experience an increase in storm water peak flow or volume from the new development, and would have a reduction of impervious surface areas from existing conditions due to installing islands, planting areas, and buffer area between the property and the wetland area. The impervious surface would go from a current 755,021 square feet of impervious area to a proposed 731,948 square feet; a reduction of 23,073 square feet.

Frederick said that, to date, there has been no input received from the public on the IWC application as correspondence, at meetings or as contacts via publicized Zoom links given out with each meeting agenda. At this time, the commission has not determined that a public hearing is required, per state statutes.

If the application is approved by the IWC, the next step would be to bring a site plan application to the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) for review. Several issues which don't arise in an IWC review, such as a traffic study, would be considered during the PZC review. The PZC is expected to set a public hearing as part of its review of the application.