Herbst: Impact of Monroe development is a major concern

To the Editor:

Recently, the Town of Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission approved on a 3-2 vote, the construction of a large retail facility on industrial-zoned property in close proximity to the Tashua section of Trumbull. Over the course of the last several weeks, I have heard from several Trumbull residents that are concerned with further traffic impact in this area which will create longer cycle waiting times for drivers at Spring Hill Road, Tashua Road and the Route 111 Intersections. One Monroe zoning official, who voted against the application, recently stated that she found it “unsettling that the identity of the retailer was kept secret. It hindered the commission’s ability to evaluate the overall impact on property values and emergency service providers.” This retail facility is believed to be a Walmart of considerable size, commonly referred to as a “Super Walmart.” When the identity of the retailer was not revealed by Monroe officials, I authorized the Town Engineer and the Director of Planning to begin the process of analyzing the application to determine if there was any negative environmental or traffic impact to the Town of Trumbull. During the week, evening peak traffic would increase by over 200 cars per hour, and on Saturdays, peak hour traffic would increase by over 650 cars per hour.The developer is proposing red light waiting times of 2.5 minutes at Trumbull’s intersection. We find these traffic volumes and wait times cause for great concern. Furthermore, these numbers don’t include the impact of the Pond View shopping center, which has also been approved in Monroe.

Town personnel have also expressed concern over the environmental impact of this application, in light of its size and close proximity to the Pequonnock River. In fact, the developer is proposing to install a building and parking area the size of approximately 8.5 football fields. Based upon this, the Town of Trumbull filed a 22a-19 intervener application to address any adverse environmental impact this application might have downstream to the Town of Trumbull. The property is approximately 700 feet into Monroe and all storm runoff will flow almost entirely into Trumbull. Increase flow rates from this site will cause additional flooding problems at Old Mine Park and other areas in Trumbull along the Pequonnock River. We are asking the developer in Monroe to do the same things we ask developers in Trumbull to do as part of their drainage requirements.

Recently, a Trumbull Planning and Zoning commissioner opined about regional collaboration. That regional collaboration is rooted in the Rails to Trails Program and the collective efforts of the Greater Bridgeport Regional Council to merge with two other planning organizations that will create a critical mass within Southwestern Connecticut. That being said, we have a moral obligation to protect the public, health safety and general welfare of Trumbull residents, first and foremost. It is my hope that we will work collaboratively with the Town of Monroe to mitigate these issues and develop a workable solution that allows for traffic improvements and environmental protections for the benefit of both communities, while allowing Monroe to grow its tax base in a responsible manner.

Timothy M. Herbst

First Selectman