PLAN – Protect Litchfield Action NetworkLitchfield, CT 06759 October 5, 2012 Litchfield Planning and Zoning Commission80 Doyle RoadBantam, CT 06750 Re: Proposed Amendment to Limit Retail Building Square Footage Dear Planning and Zoning Commission, PLAN Litchfield hereby withdraws its application to change the zoning code to limit the square footage of new retail buildings in the B202 zone to 12,000 squarefeet. The Commission’s requirement of a deposit of $9,080 to fund consultants’ reviews of the application, while intended to treat all applicants equally, effectively favors large corporations while imposing an undue hardship on a local citizens’ groups. Our attorney has advised us that consultant services of the nature and extent contemplated by the P&Z are not needed, are excessive, and are not appropriate for an application filed by citizens. A $9,080 fee is inconsistent with the legislative nature of an amendment and it confuses a request for an amendment with an application for a private license such as the town might receive from a developer. PLAN Litchfield was not asking the town to grant a privilege (e.g., to develop a shopping center or a condominium project), nor was it asking the town to review pages of technical and complex site plans, engineering plans, watercourse plans, parking lot plans, etc. Instead, we asked the P&Z to exerciseits legislative power to make a change consistent with the town’s POCAD. As noted at the October 1st P&Z meeting, the Commission has already limited thesize of retail stores. That change was enacted in 1998 without a legal or engineering review, but was reviewed solely by Tom McGowan, the Commission’s planner.Our request was simply to change the number of square feet in a regulation thatis already in place. We fail to see the need for review in excess of the reviewof the original regulation.In speaking to our neighbors and friends in Litchfield about the big box proposal that recently came before the Commission, the opposition was overwhelming–acrossthe political and economic spectrum. Virtually no one (aside from those seeking to develop such properties) believes that a 39,000 sq ft store, or a 52,000 sqft store, in the middle of Litchfield, is a good idea. Almost 1,000 people have signed our paper and online petitions and signatures and checks from the public continue to arrive daily. Our group is concerned that this type of development would be an irreversible blow to Litchfield—even one big box store would be devastating to the town: corrosive to the town’s historic character, destructive of its status as a prime tourist destination and fatal to many of our small local businesses. It would erode residential property values; increase traffic, noise, water and air pollution; threaten the water supply and adjoining wetlands; and compromise walkability and public safety. Our neighbors were shocked that such a project might be permitted in present dayLitchfield and they urged us to go further than just opposing one project. They asked us to do something that would definitively preclude such projects in thefuture. People thought our town was protected and they were distressed and angry to learn that it wasn’t. They would like to see restrictions in place that protect the town from future big box-type development. Since no one wants to fightthis fight over and over again, developers need to know that these projects simply are not allowed in Litchfield.