Quinnipiac River Watershed Association
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Bloomingdale's Action Alert

10/21/1997

lease consider attending the next public hearing for expansion of the Bloomingdale's-by-Mail facility, in the FIP Industrial Park, before the Cheshire Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission on Tuesday, October 21th at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 84 S. Main St. (E. side of Rt. 10, in town center) It is important that the commission hear from our members, representing the general public, as well from QRWA staff & technical experts! The QRWA considers this application especially important for a number of reasons.

  • The large wetlands acreage to be filled (3.4 acres), is unprecedented in the watershed, for a non-highway project of this size - involving a total of approximately six acres of additional building & two acres of parking. If approved similar applications are likely to follow, elsewhere in the watershed.
  • This site was chosen in 1986, after discussions with town officials, with full intent by Bloomingdales to expand to the east to the proposed size, despite awareness by Bloomingdales of the large wetlands impact, but without involvement in the decision-making process by the public or Cheshire Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission.
  • The wetlands to be filled include seasonal pools, which are breeding areas for amphibians, feeding and overwintering areas for spotted turtles, and widely recognized as a very valuable type of wildlife habitat. Two pools have already been destroyed by the existing building. These are mature forested wetlands.
  • This would be additional disturbance which could disrupt shy, forest interior birds which nest across the river in the large, town-owned Moss Farms preserve and a wood turtle population documented at the site (a special concern species).Outstanding abundance and diversity of breeding forest bird and other wildlife has been well-documented by the applicant's consultants and QRWA volunteers.
  • The proposed mitigation plan is sketchy, formulated before information on soils and groundwater was available. It involves forested wetland creation, which has a poor track record.
  • Inadequately treated parking lot and roof runoff (no detention or biofilter basin as is currently standard practice for large, commercial facilities)could damage sensitive aquatic habitat (including a rare fresh water mussel and hibernating wood turtles), in the Ten Mile River, one of the cleanest, major Quinnipiac tributaries.
  • An alternative expansion layout, the "East-West alternative" would impact only about 1.5 acres of wetlands, not including the valuable pool, and would include a parking garage, therefore generating less runoff. It is technically feasible although it would be somewhat less efficient, adding about a penny inoperating costs for each dollar of merchandised sold. The additional construction cost (primarily parking) is much lower than the cost of relocating the entire plant. The QRWA believes that Bloomingdales would choose to stay in Cheshire, not relocate as has been threatened, if they were denied a permit for the full expansion.

We realize that Bloomingdale's-by-Mail is a source of tax revenue and jobs for the region. Perhaps a completely different, truly outstanding, alternative mitigation plan could compensate for the direct and indirect wetlands losses and for the initial siting error. However, this application, as it stands, is clearly inadequate. Please come to the hearing onTuesday, and urge the commission to carry out its legal obligation to protect the wetlands which cleanse and support our river ecosystem! Feel free to call with questions at 203 237 2237.

Quinnipiac River Watershed Association
99 Colony St, Meriden CT 06450
203 237 2237


12/4/1997
Comments For The Governer's Blue-Ribbon Task Force
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