The smaller rock — although it looks sizable, and got everyone’s attention — was just a "tiny" ledge in comparison. And it was mostly in the DOT (Department of Transportation) right of way, so they made the decision. The new owner of the former La Trattoria restaurant site wanted to be more visible. Well, the site sure is, for better or (definitely) worse.
By the way, the larger traprock ridge isn't preserved yet, as the developer still owns it, so we’re waiting to see what he does next.
Editor’s Note — In June 2021, Canton’s Planning & Zoning Commission rejected the developer’s original plan for a 20-dispenser gas station, electric vehicle showroom and convenience store on Route 44 next to the West Simsbury-based Hoffman car dealerships and West Simsbury-based Best Buy.
Interesting stats + numbers:
• 60 — Height of a retaining wall (measured in feet) that the Canton Zoning Commission approved in 2008.
• 147,000 — Square footage of a big-box home improvement store that would have been located under that wall.
• 175,000 — Number of cubic yards of earth that would have been moved to turn the steep hill into a flat building pad.
• 85 — How high that pile of earth would be (measured in feet) if it were spread over an NFL football field including both end zones.
Big box retail is, at best, a zero-sum economic deal for towns. Allowing drastic reconfiguration of the land, especially for a loser of a project, is a dangerous precedent. Fortunately, the big box chain backed out due to the cost of building on this unsuitable lot. We hope land use officials will never again make such a mistake.
Editor’s Note — This potential Canton project was for a Lowe's Home Improvement center on a 24-acre site next to the West Simsbury-based Valley Car Wash on Route 44 near the tri-town convergence of Canton, Avon and Simsbury.
Goals for the next 1-5 years?
• Cleanup of the J. Swift Chemical Superfund site.
• Work with elected officials to improve the state regulations regarding quarrying and mining.
• Continuous improvement in the training of land use officials and educating the public about how the local planning and land use decision-making process works in Connecticut.
Volunteers — Our volunteers include attorneys, environmental professionals, scientists, professional planners, social media pros, writers, historians, architects, door-to-door canvassers and more. If you care about your town, you can help.
Besides donations, how is your work funded?
We are completely supported by donations, with the exception of a small state historic preservation grant in 2009.
How closely do you work with other agencies?
We regularly collaborate with many area nonprofits.
What do you appreciate most about the Farmington Valley?
Its one-of-a-kind character! Its people, beauty, the Farmington River, outdoor recreational opportunities, land trusts, historical buildings, rare traprock ridges, farms, locally owned businesses, history, great schools and actively engaged citizens. How can anyone pick just one of those as the best?
What constructive change would you like to see in the Valley?
Greater regional economic development and land use planning, and statewide reforms that reduce reliance on the local property tax.
Number of employees — We are all volunteers.
• Jane Latus, President
• Donna Burkhardt, Secretary
• Alan Weiner, Treasurer
Board members — 10
How has the COVID pandemic impacted your work?
It hasn’t, other than conducting meetings virtually.
Today Online and Today Magazine cover the heart of the Farmington Valley — We aim to report the underreported upside of the Valley's five core towns — Avon • Canton • Farmington • Granby • Simsbury — Connecticut • USA