SHARE - Who We Are and Our Mission

SHARE (Simsbury Homeowners Advocating Responsible Expansion) was originally founded in July 2005 by a concerned group of Simsbury residents in response to a developer's intent to develop a nearly one million square foot mixed-use mall called River Oaks on the Southern Gateway parcel along Route 10 in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Over a period of two years through 2007 SHARE grew its membership to approximately 4,000 Simsbury residents who have a common view that Simsbury must enjoy continued economic development but it must do so responsibly and maintain the lifestyle and bucolic feel of our town.

SHARE succeeded in defeating the River Oaks development proposal and to this day continues its activities to monitor, influence and participate in the public process of providing input to Simsbury land-use officials, all with the objective of ensuring that Simsbury develops with appropriate vision, regulatory structure and due process. Led by a SHARE Steering Committee of 15 dedicated residents residing around town, the Steering Committee works tirelessly to advocate for all SHARE members and maintains a laser focus on the responsible expansion of our town.

SHARE's Current Mission Statement and Grounding Principles

Many of the same fundamental principles from SHARE's original 2005 Mission Statement remain today. Since Konover Development's River Oaks project was defeated and abandoned, SHARE now sees its mission and principles as follows:

Simsbury Homeowners Advocating Responsible Expansion (SHARE) encourages our elected officials to conform to the Plan of Conservation and Development and corresponding land use regulations that will prohibit unwanted and incompatible development in Simsbury, and protect both Simsbury's essential character and community interests for generations to come.

We promote "Smart Growth" which gives the most benefits to the town with the least impact to our unique character, beauty and quality of life. Impact on neighborhoods is by far the most critical factor of any project. Traffic and safety, environmental impact, design review and net economic benefit studies should be used, as well as public hearings to ensure open, transparent, apolitical and fact-based decisioning. Open space and set-backs from roads and current neighbors should be generous, expecially when important physical treasures, such as the river, and scenic vistas, are to be preserved.

We recognize that Simsbury, like all towns and cities today, needs to grow its tax base and Simsbury residents overwhelmingly support economic development. But we believe that development should build on and enhance the essential character of the Town and deliver a solid cost/benefit outcome. We believe that Simsbury residents insist that our Town remains unique and special and should not look like "everywhere else". Furthermore, we are determined to ensure that Route 10 remains a two-lane road.

We advocate a more open and responsible government and we encourage voting for candidates who will show loyalty to the people of the Town and not party affiliation.

SHARE's Original Mission When Founded in July 2005 - No Big-Box Retail in Simsbury

Konover Development has obtained an option on land east ofHopmeadow Streetat the southern end ofSimsbury. They have initiated plans to build a 130,000 square foot, big-box retail store on the site as the anchor of a retail complex. A building of this size is twice as big as a Super Stop & Shop and potential tenants would include a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and Target. Other retail outlets would accompany the big-box, and ultimately the entire 61 acre parcel would be built out totally nearly one million square feet of development. Konover's plancalls for widening a section ofHopmeadow Streetto four lanes.

The Town ofSimsburyis currently in the process of revising its ten-year planand has had significant direct input from Konover and Mike Goman, its CEO. Zoning classifications would be changed, as well as the approval process.

Town residents are just now beginning to learn of this proposal and many are highly concerned about the impact of big-box development on the town. Citizens’ discussions have focused on three issues:

* The unique character, beauty and quality of life found in Simsbury. A 130,000 square foot retail behemoth at the front door of the town would forever alter its unique visual signature and environment.

* Traffic and Safety. A 61 acre retail complex anchored by at least one big-box would overwhelm Hopmeadow Street with shoppers 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, re-supplying these stores would bring a relentless flood of large trucks through the center of Simsbury 24/7.

* Impact on Neighborhoods. People move to Simsbury for its schools and neighborhoods. Big-box development would send quality-of-life shock waves through adjoining residential areas.

All told, the costs would seem to be plain and profound. As for the benefit... an increase in net tax revenues... skepticism abounds. And there are other sensible development opportunities for the same land that would provide higher tax revenues without the same traffic and safety problems, for example, office buildings and senior citizen housing.

Simsbury, like all towns and cities today, needs to grow its tax base and town residents overwhelmingly support economic development. But they expect development that builds on and enhances the essential character of the town and that delivers a solid cost/benefit outcome. River Oaks fails those standards for many residents.

As SHARE, we encourage our elected land use officials to adopt a Plan of Conservation and Development and corresponding land use regulations that will prohibit big-box development and better protect both Simsbury's essential character and long-term community interests for the generations to come.

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Simsbury Homeowners Advocating Responsible Expansion (SHARE) - 2012 - Simsbury, CT -