| Peter Currier
AGAWAM – Agawam City Councilor Rosemary Sandlin elaborated on why she opposes the proposed Carvana facility in Southwick ahead of the July 12 City Council meeting at which the body considered a resolution formally opposing the project.
Sandlin said July 10 that one of her chief concerns with the Southwick Carvana project is how the additional car and truck traffic will affect surrounding communities, including Agawam, and potentially cause additional danger to pedestrians
“I’m concerned for the safety of the children,” said Sandlin, who introduced the resolution discussed in the July 12 meeting alongside Councilor Anthony R. Suffriti.
Her main concern in respect to traffic is Carvana’s use of trucks that can carry up to nine passenger vehicles, which would likely need to travel through Agawam to get to a major highway. If a highway, namely Route 57, connected directly with Southwick, Sandlin said she would have less of a problem with the project.
“It would be a whole other story if Route 57 went to Southwick,” said Sandlin.
As Sandlin and Suffriti said in the resolution they put before the city council, they are also concerned about a higher volume of heavy trucks using the Feeding Hills intersection, which was only recently reconstructed.
“It took a long time to get the state to do that intersection,” said Sandlin.
She said July 10 that because the resolution to formally oppose the Carvana project falls under “New Business” it would not be voted on during the July 12 meeting, and would likely see a vote in their meeting in August.
“Residents have to be made aware that this will have an impact on Agawam,” said Sandlin.
Many Southwick residents oppose the project and have voiced numerous concerns, mainly revolving around truck traffic and water use at the proposed facility on College Highway and Tannery Road. Residents in opposition also point to the need for green space in the farm by-right community.
Carvana is seeking a special permit through a general contractor to build a vehicle processing facility at 686 College Hwy. They are seeking a special permit, site plan approval, an earth excavation permit, a wellhead protection district special permit, and a stormwater permit.
Southwick Planning Board will host a continuation of the Carvana hearing July 20 at 6 p.m.
On July 17, Save Southwick will host a rally from 10 a.m. to noon on the sidewalk in front of Southwick Town Hall, where parking is available.
According to the organizers, “This rally is an opportunity for residents of Southwick and surrounding communities to amplify their opposition to a proposed Carvana vehicle storage and processing facility currently awaiting special permit approval from the town’s planning board.”
Save Southwick describes itself as, “a grassroots citizens group opposed to the Carvana project, which would stamp a 65-acre impervious footprint on 137 acres of undeveloped farmland off of College Highway and Tannery Road. Carvana representatives estimate the facility will use 9 million gallons of water annually, and will draw 2,664 passenger vehicle trips and 90 car-carrier trips to and from the site each day.”