Greenfield City Council reaffirms ‘no’ vote on expanding industrial development zone

  • The former Mackin property, now owned by Ceruzzi Properties, off the French King Highway in Greenfield, was one of 11 that was proposed to be rezoned to allow for more industrial development. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • A view looking south down the French King Highway in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO


Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2023 7:57:20 PM

GREENFIELD — Councilors have once again voted down the proposed expansion of the industrial development zone near Route 2.

“We already had a really rich discussion on this, but I didn’t make it home for more than an hour when I knew it was the wrong thing that I’d done,” said At-Large Councilor Penny Ricketts, who asked to reconsider the motion following the Dec. 21 City Council meeting, during which the proposed zoning change failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority of support. “I do want this (area zoned as) industrial for a lot of reasons. … I think it’s really important; the jobs are needed.”

During the December meeting, the proposed zoning change received three votes in support (At-Large Councilor Philip Elmer, Precinct 7 Councilor Jasper Lapienski and At-Large Councilor Michael Terounzo) and eight votes against it, Ricketts included. Precinct 6 Councilor Sheila Gilmour and Precinct 9 Councilor Derek Helie were absent.

The proposal, introduced over the summer by Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, involved a zoning change for 48 acres, or 11 parcels, located on the French King Highway from General Commercial, which provides for mixed retail, to Planned Industry (PI), which is meant for manufacturing and industrial development. The 11 parcels this zone encompasses include the land owned by Ceruzzi Properties where a 135,000-square-foot big box store was long proposed. That land is still under lease by Stop & Shop.

“Light industry, manufacturing or processing plants” are currently allowed by special permit in the General Commercial district, according to Planning and Development Director Eric Twarog.

The proposal once again failed to receive the nine votes necessary to pass Wednesday.

“This zoning change isn’t something I can vote for,” said Precinct 3 Councilor Virginia “Ginny” DeSorgher. “Planned Industrial is allowed in there by special permit.”

Instead, DeSorgher emphasized the need for side-by-side condominiums for Greenfield seniors.

City Council President Dan Guin, however, said while he once was a “big advocate” of leaving it by special permit, he understands the challenges the process can pose for potential businesses.

“If someone is trying to get financing and … it’s by special permit, they don’t get financing as easy,” he said.

Precinct 9 Councilor Derek Helie, who also voted in support of the zoning change, argued that in his experience as an engineer, he’s watched as more than one business — most recently NUPRO — has had to purchase land elsewhere in the county.

“These are high-paying jobs,” he said. “People need them around here.”

Valley Steel Stamp President Steve Capshaw, whose business is located in the Interstate 91 Industrial Park, had previously expressed an interest in expanding his company, noting he’d been in conversations with Ceruzzi’s lawyers over leasing the land for industrial development. He said the expansion of his company would bring upwards of 400 jobs to the city.

A handful of residents, including Nancy Hazard, spoke in support of the proposed zoning change.

“Greenfield’s industrial park is full and there’s a demand for industrial space,” Hazard said. “The location is ideal.”

Resident Sandy Kosterman added that bringing new jobs to Greenfield would help lower the tax rate.

Some councilors, however, including Precinct 5 Councilor Marianne Bullock, argued in favor of “going back to the drawing board.”

“I wish there had been a broader stakeholder group to make a decision,” she said.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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