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As Costco heads toward a Jan. 14 Inlands Wetlands public hearing, Branford’s Inland Wetland Agency (IWA) has accepted a request, brought by petition, from a citizen’s group seeking intervernor status.
On Dec. 10, an attorney for Branford Citizens for Responsible Development (BCRD) presented the intervenor status petition request to the IWA. The agency then admitted the group as an intervenor, Branford Inland Wetlands Director Diana Ross told The Sound.
According to Connecticut state statutes, the process of becoming an intervenor requires a local government agency or officer to grant a requestor status as party in a contested case “... if the agency or officer finds the party has submitted a written petition to the agency and mailed copies to all parties, at least five days before the date of hearing and the petition states facts that demonstrate that the petitioner’s legal rights, duties or privileges shall be specifically affected by the agency’s decision in the contested case.”
“They become a party; they can speak. It’s more than just being a member of the public,” said Ross.
At its website (https://branfordresponsibledevelopment.wordpress.com) BCRD describes its group as “...a non-partisan group of citizens alarmed by the proposal to locate a Costco warehouse, chain restaurant and additional retail on industrially zoned land at Exit 56. We are concerned that the thoughtful and consistent planning for this area — retail has been excluded from Exit 56 since 1973 — would be subverted, and that traffic will overwhelm not just the area around Exit 56 but other roads and streets as residents seek alternative routes in order to avoid the entire Exit 56 area. We support the continued development of research and development, high-tech, office, biotech and biomedical enterprises in this area.”
As previously reported in The Sound, Costco halted its initial inlands wetlands site plan application process in order to wait for the IWA to hire outside experts and complete professional peer reviews of Costco’s engineering and soil studies submitted with the application in the fall.
On Nov. 12, following a bidding process, IWA commissioners voted to hire Milone & MacBroom of Cheshire to conduct the peer reviews. Ross said the peer review was expected to be completed by Wed. Dec. 16.
The Branford IWA Costco public hearing opens Thurs. Jan. 14, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at Branford Fire Headquarters, 45 North Main St.