Home Depot got soaked this week in Vernon, Connecticut, when the town’s Inland Wetlands Commission unanimously sank their plans for a 117,000 s.f. home improvement store near interstate 84. According to an account of the meeting by the Hartford Courant, the Commission received a standing ovation from local residents opposed to the plan. Officials were concerned about possible adverse impacts on the Walker Reservoir and the Tankerhoosen River. The developer, Diamond 67, apparently could not satisfy the Commission that the river would be protected from stormwater runoff from the 14 acre parcel, with its huge impervious parking lot. To build the Home Depot, the developer had proposed to fill an existing drainage basin. The site also has no town sewer line, and would have had to use an existing septic system on the site. Of course, the developer’s engineers claimed their plan would not increase water flow into the reservoir. But Commission members were uncomfortable with the parcel’s proximity to the reservoir, and with the reuse of the septic system. Members said the developer could have proposed a larger septic system as an alternative. In Connecticut, a project can be denied if a prudent and feasible alternative exists to the plan. In this case, Home Depot went on a fishing expedition, but couldn’t land a single vote.
Vernon residents won’t have much time to rest up from their dunking of the Home Depot project, since the town is also facing a Wal-Mart supercenter proposal in the same general area along I-84. That hearing is set for September 9th. After the Home Depot vote, one resident told the Hartford Courant: “One down, one to go.”