Amazon parking facility plan’s office building now just for storage

This is a rendering of the site plan for a commercial vehicle facility at 10 Victoria Drive.

MONROE, CT – A guardhouse is finished and Amazon delivery vans are using the new parking facility at 10 Victoria Drive, according to Town Planner Rick Schultz. The Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval also includes the construction of a 10,000-square-foot office building, but that seems to have changed.

On Thursday, Schultz told the commission the building, which is under construction, will have no floor in it, so there will not be a certificate of occupancy.

“They will use it for storage,” he said during an update on the project. “They said their model changed.”

“That’s not what we approved,” said Commissioner Leon Ambrosey. “They showed us offices. Now they’re just showing us a wood frame building for storage. It doesn’t sit right with me.”

Vice Chairman Bruno Maini noted how representatives for the applicant, Gen IV LLC, said the building would also have a break room and a bathroom during the hearing.

The commission approved the plan for the delivery van facility on April 22, 2021. But then Attorney John Knuff and his client, property owner Phil DiGennaro, came back to the commission in July to say the plan was redesigned, eliminating the office building and expanding an above ground stormwater detention system.

Amazon’s business plan had changed, making the office building unnecessary, Knuff told the commission. The company already has offices in Trumbull.

“We didn’t want to go through the charade of applying for the building permit and later going back to you saying, ‘we don’t want the building,’” Knuff had told the commission in July.

This angered commissioners who wanted the office building included for the tax revenue and some said they may not have voted in favor of the project if they knew it would just be a big parking lot.

The applicant came back in August and presented a proposal to reduce the building to 7,500 square feet. Knuff said it would just be for storage. He contended that the vast majority of tax revenue the town receives will be from the delivery vans.

But that pitch also fell flat, so the developer withdrew the plan for the smaller building, while agreeing to stick with the approved application.

Now the commission is unhappy over plans to only use the 10,000-square-foot building for storage.

Ambrosey also asked why Amazon is allowed to park vans there before the project is complete.

Schultz said the zoning officer issued a zoning permit administratively allowing the company to park vans there, because it’s a phased project and the parking lot was done first.

“The taxes will be the same minus office equipment,” he said. “If you want them back, they’ll modify their plan. It’s going to be fairly attractive.”

Ryan Condon, the commission secretary, doubted that having the applicant come back would make any difference.

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