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Southbury Theater Hearing Rescheduled Due to Crowd

Due to the vast number of people who showed up, the public hearing has been rescheduled for next week at Pomperaug High School.

The hearing that almost was...Wednesday, January 8th, Southbury Town Hall. Photo by Lorien Crow.
The hearing that almost was...Wednesday, January 8th, Southbury Town Hall. Photo by Lorien Crow.
The Public Hearing on Riverview Cinemas and Playhouse, the Southbury Movie Theater Multiplex proposal, has been rescheduled for next Wednesday, Jan. 15, in the Pomperaug High School auditorium, 234 Judd Road, Southbury, at 7:30 p.m.

So many people showed up at the Southbury Town Hall for Wednesday, Jan. 8's Zoning Commission meeting that the Southbury Fire Marshal deemed Room 205 over capacity.

Had the Zoning Commission continued with the planned public hearing, Southbury Police would have had to turn away anyone else who tried to enter the room.

In order to give everyone who came to the first meeting the chance to hear the proposal and voice their opinions, the hearing will now take place next week in the larger venue at Pomperaug.

Want to share your thoughts on the movie theater plans? Post in the comments or on our Opinion Board.


Joe McMahon January 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Jon...I'm with you on that!
Jon Norris January 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM
I don't see launch pads for rockets prohibited anywhere in the regs.
Bernard Kokinchak January 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM
WHY can we not have this other traffic? I think befit have place go that non alcohol place go is go thing. Just look Panera bread with all kids hang out not causing trouble but eating and do teenage things.
Richard Thompson January 10, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Many residents are in favor of a theater in Southbury and many believe it's a bad idea. If approved and it becomes the nightmare on Main St. the voting public will hold the feet to the fire come election day. It seems to me, this often hotly contested issue should be put to referendum/vote. Let democracy work, majority rule and live with the consequences, good or bad.
Claudia Chapman January 10, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Madame Defarge is the villain in Dickens "Tale of Two Cities", remembered for encoding the names of those she believes should be executed in to her knitting. She refuses to acknowledge the good that the people she wishes to see murdered have done for the common man and judges them not for their own actions, but for the sins of their ancestors. I don't believe she is a character who should be brought in to a civil discussion between neighbors about an important issue for our town.
Lyle Murphy January 10, 2014 at 02:19 PM
It is a risky idea to have such a large single-purpose building that could fail. If the theater is a failure the building could not be easily re-purposed. The competition such as Danbury and Waterbury are only 20mins away and they have the newest technology with director seating and 3-d viewing. If this theater does not feature the latest and greatest in smart tech and viewer experience it will surely struggle to compete.
Jon Norris January 10, 2014 at 02:53 PM
"Another name for Madame DeFarge's Knitting" is a commonly used shorthand for indicating that a person's bad acts will be remembered into the future, as was its use in my comment. If any 19th century literary character can be brought into any modern day discussion I would applaud it.
Claudia Chapman January 10, 2014 at 03:17 PM
The proposed building, which is multi-purpose, is 24,000 square feet. It includes the theater, retail, a restaurant and apartments. For size comparison, the proposed Walmart in Monroe is 154,000 square feet. Walmart typically constructs their own buildings and they are typically as large, or larger, than the one proposed in nearby Monroe. There is no danger of a business like Walmart moving in to the building proposed for the theater because Walmart requires "open span" construction. The proposed theater/restaurant/retail/apartment center is closed span construction and way too small to accomodate a business like Walmart.
Joe McMahon January 10, 2014 at 03:23 PM
Why put Walmart there?...the zoning commission will approve that on the Training School property. Ugh...
Claudia Chapman January 10, 2014 at 03:40 PM
TJ MAXX in Southbury plaza is just under 22,000 square feet. The entire proposed development, including the cinema, apartment space, restaurant and retail shops is only 24,000 square feet.
Claudia Chapman January 10, 2014 at 05:13 PM
Wouldn't a traffic light at the entrance to the cinema, restaurant and shops solve the issue of crossing the road in traffic? In Woodbuy, when Dunkin' Donuts was proposed a traffic light was installed at the developer's expense.
Jon Norris January 11, 2014 at 02:10 PM
RE: Traffic light I think a traffic light will save someone's life (The Hearth is across the street, off set.) But the "uncomfortable" traffic we have now will become "unbearable". Obviously, the developers don't want to suggest a light when their asking for the project's approval. According to them, traffic generation will be minimal. Asking for a light would be logically inconsistent. After getting approved, a traffic light (and a turn lane?) will probably show up in the "detailed plan".
Claudia Chapman January 11, 2014 at 09:15 PM
Please read the proposal before attending the meeting. Look at the plans. http://southbury-ct.org/filestorage/990/Zoning_Commission_POWER_POINTv6.pdf
Richard Thompson January 12, 2014 at 01:28 PM
Ask yourselves why so many people are passionately promoting this theater project. Are they anxious to sit in a flu infested room and watch films that often have little entertaining or redeeming value? Do they need a place for their kids to just Go? Do they love the theater but hate the long drive? Why do they minimize the reality of more traffic congestion, potential harm to the river and poo poo other concerns people here and elsewhere have voiced? I suggest they will promote this so vigorously because they perceive some financial gain from it. Why else?
Joe McMahon January 13, 2014 at 02:45 PM
Claudia....you forgot the word "business" in front of "proposal". I'm glad you gave everyone the link to this joke of a proposal. Everyone....please follow Claudia's lead and read this...it's a must. In case you're busy, I'll sum it up for you. Basically telling Southbury, it doesn't matter what you think this will do to the town you grew up in or picked as a place to settle your family, as long as we can get the hook, line, and sinker into your zoning commission, we're building it. Take a look at these ridiculous surveys they had the nerve to list. Pomperaug students...really? That's fine to determine your customer base, but to put into a proposal? The non-tax paying residents of the town...nice! A bit of a reach, don't you think? What's next...asking our elementary school population if they'd like a Six Flags or maybe Disney World in Southbury? How about a real survey...where's the referendum? Let's face it folks, this is a business venture solely for the purpose of lining pockets. I'm all for capitalism but put this theater in a town that can support it. A town where the business doesn't require surrounding towns to drive here to support it. Frankly, as a tax paying resident of Southbury, this proposal is insulting. It also states... "A strong indication that Southbury residents would like to see additional entertainment"...how does that equate to this project? 8 screens....really? They know Southbury alone can't support that. Why don't you build a real theater or just the 2 screens that we're zoned for? Nope, won't do that...not enough revenue. So screw you Southbury, we'll build what makes us money. You're close to the highway, so you drew the short straw. Bottom line here...the developer doesn't care about Southbury, the people who come from outside of our town will care even less, and if the zoning commission approves this...well, there's your answer on how they feel about our town too.
Claudia Chapman January 13, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Our friends and neighbors from Roxbury, Washington Depot and Woodbury already drive in to Southbury to shop for groceries, go to TJ Maxx, buy gifts from Marie's, look around at K-Mart, bank at SBD, and buy office supplies at Staples. Does this "out-of-town" business hurt our town? Or does it increase our tax base so we have the means to do that which Southbury is most notable for — preserving open space?
Jon Norris January 13, 2014 at 04:29 PM
Extremely well said, Mr. McMahon! re: Taxes, Tax base There is a persistent movement in town to improve the commercial/residential property tax ratio without appropriate regard for preserving quality of life. Anyone remember the EDC's developer's proposal for 452 apartments next to exit 14? I'm all for improving economic activity, but not at any cost. The taxes the multiplex would pay won't move the needle on anyone's taxes. We collect 61 million dollars a year. It might even choke off traffic so no one wants to go downtown if they can avoid it. Does anyone remember when the CVS (Next to Pomp. office park, across from the Foodcenter/IGA)when it first opened? The traffic flow was very unworkable. In a near empty store, I commented on that fact to an employee who said, " That's why people stopped coming." After a couple months the traffic flow was redone.
Richard Thompson January 13, 2014 at 05:06 PM
The passionate promoters of this artery clogging fiasco will blow a smoke screen with, "does it increase our tax base?" With all the commercial enterprise in town now, are your taxes lower? Hell no, they're higher then ever. Highest mill rate ever!...And she writes, "does all this out of town business hurt our town?" Your damn right it does lady!
Joe McMahon January 13, 2014 at 05:07 PM
Claudia, I can't argue with anything you said and I agree with all of it. This is what makes the world go round. There are folks that can look at the world through rose colored glasses, which is great (and I'm jealous), and then there are folks who have foggy lenses and have to take them off from time to time. Obviously I'm the latter. Here's how I look at it. I'll say it again, I agree with everything in your last post. However, our neighbors in Roxbury, Washington Depot, and Woodbury will be home all tucked in for the "late showings". By then, TJ Maxx, Marie's, the banks, and Staples will all be closed. Our neighbors from Waterbury, Danbury, and New Haven will gladly stop by to fill the void. You seem to have no problem doing your due diligence when researching topics. Why don't you take a look at the crime that we are currently up against in Southbury, even at some of the local merchants that you mentioned. See when the last time our Roxbury, Washington Depot, and Woodbury residents were arrested here for shoplifting, drug possession with intent to sell, larceny, etc. A movie theater brings a different crowd, younger, less disciplined, less caring. It's the larger cities this developer is counting on to fill this place. Waterbury, New Haven, and other larger cities are main contributors to our rising crime problems. Nobody likes to talk about it, and it's easy to turn a blind eye to it, but the fact is, it's here. This multiplex would be the huge attraction for more of it. We can "grow" our town, but shouldn't we be wise in doing so? Dropping an 8 screen theater in the middle of Southbury's main street may be a little much just for the sake of convenience. In reality, that's all it is...right? Convenience. I mean, do Southbury residents really have to travel that far to see movies now? As homeowners in this great town, with great schools, low crime, strong home values, and all the other things that make a nice place to live, we have a responsibility to each other as neighbors to help keep it that way. No developer is here to help us out, no matter what they say to try to sell it to the zoning commission.
Richard Thompson January 13, 2014 at 07:56 PM
My hope is that there will be so much uproar against this theater project that a referendum vote will be called and if not, at least zoning will be forced to UPHOLD the regulation as written. TWO SCREENS. DENY THE VARIANCE. The owner sells for obvious reasons. Conservation purchases the property (wish they had) with contributions/grants. A beautiful park is constructed & maintained by volunteers without added tax burden. I, for one, have time; energy; tools and money for this hope but oh, wait, this is only a dream that could be realized in Roxbury.
Keith Stone January 15, 2014 at 01:33 PM
re:"8 screens....really? They know Southbury alone can't support that. Why don't you build a real theater or just the 2 screens that we're zoned for? Nope, won't do that...not enough revenue." I guess you forgot to read up on the theater business. 2- 4 movies come out every weekend. When you book the movie, the studio that owns the print will make you run it for 2-3 weeks. If they only had 2 screens, you would only have 2 choices and the theater would miss all the releases after they booked the 2 prints. Plus it gives the Southbury residents 8 choices instead of 2 which would bring in more residents to see a movie. Looks like you need to do some more research. I understand you believe that a new theater will bring the Ten Plagues with Frogs and Locusts coming from the sky, but that is a scare tactic you are using to try and bring fear. I am all for a movie theatre in our town. Let alone the amount of tax revenue and jobs it will bring.
Joe McMahon January 15, 2014 at 01:46 PM
Keith..yet another who believes I'm using scare tactics by stating reality (in my opinion of course). I'm not worried about the movie business and how tough it would be for them to make money with 2 screens. I'm worried about our town.
Angela Tosti Flynn January 15, 2014 at 01:50 PM
At the very least, the town needs to have an independent study done.
Keith Stone January 15, 2014 at 02:57 PM
So Joe what you are trying to say is if a movie theater is built in town, lock your doors, turn off the lights, stay inside and don't go out past dusk because there will be young drug dealers patrolling the streets from other towns out to get you? I think you have watched Field of Dreams once too many. If you build it, they will come. If also what I understand is correct, " A movie theater brings a different crowd, younger, less disciplined, less caring. It's the larger cities this developer is counting on to fill this place. Waterbury, New Haven, and other larger cities are main contributors to our rising crime problems." I don't believe this will happen to any extent of your fears because this younger out of town population, which most likely don't have licenses will find it easier to take a bus or have their parent drive them to their respective movie theater as Southbury would be too far away for a parent or bus to do that. Of course I understand the elder youngsters have licenses and can drive themselves but this cuts the young population in half that could come to the great town of Southbury. Also I once lived in Waterbury for 6 years (are you currently cringing?) and not once was I approached in away shape or form to purchase drugs of any kind. Not at the theater, not at the mall, nowhere. Which movie theater do you currently go to purchase your drugs?
Richard Thompson January 15, 2014 at 04:14 PM
Your a real clown to ask a good citizen what theater he goes to purchase drugs. Totally inappropriate and stupid! "Field of dreams" and frogs falling from the sky are further stupid remarks. If you had any intelligence you would be more respectful and realize people are concerned, with good reason that a movie where proposed is a bad idea.
Joe McMahon January 15, 2014 at 04:27 PM
Keith...I was born and raised in the Bronx and lived there until I was 26. So trust me, there's nothing in CT that can make me cringe. Moved to CT in my 30's....Waterbury, CT. So I'm well versed in seeing neighborhoods change and moving to find a better place. I worked my rear off to buy a nice home here in Southbury. It's my opinion, through experience, that this project would do more harm than good. It's also my opinion that Southbury is worth protecting. Richard T. - thanks for the comments.
Keith Stone January 15, 2014 at 05:47 PM
Richard you are right. I was clowning around...to a degree. If you go and read all of Joe's comments, even on the 6 new police hires, not just on this specific thread, he is consistently making remarks of the threat of young people coming from other towns to Southbury to sell drugs and cause a ruckus all in the name of this new theater being built. That, my friend, is totally unfounded, inappropriate and stupid! He is obviously trying to make a correlation of bad young people from other towns and drugs with movie theaters. That is why I made my comment of which movie theater he purchases his drugs from since he seems to believe an abundance of that exists at movie theaters. Joe even went to Waterbury to survey students to see if they were going to come to Southbury if a movie theater is built. Why not go to Southbury, Woodbury, Middlebury, Roxbury, Oxford, Newtown, Brookfield, all of the bordering towns and not just Waterbury?
Joe McMahon January 15, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Keith, we have a drug problem in our schools now. Much of the drugs come in from the Waterbury area. Dealers are around Pomperaug often. The developer made mention that the patrons would most likely not be from Waterbury. That's why we surveyed Waterbury. We already know the immediate towns will be here. You just don't see my concern. It's the "it won't happen here" attitude that has brought down many a town. Just being cautious and open minded about an issue that already has roots in this community. There is no need to magnify it. There are tons of theaters nearby. Why our backyard? And Keith...it's not the theater itself that brings drugs, litter, and noise to the town...it's the audience that it commands.
end it now! January 15, 2014 at 08:03 PM
Joe, your arguments could just as easily be used to justify shutting down half of the businesses in town. KMart, McDonald's, Starbucks, Staples, et al are all destinations visited by many from other towns. Should we shut them all down? I could drive to Newtown for office supplies, but as a small business owner I am thrilled there is a Staples in town. Drugs are in Southbury and have been for years. They are also in Roxbury, Woodbury and every other town whether they have these "attractions" or not. It's not just the kids who take them either. The business will close, you say? IBM might close. Staples might close. That's the risk of any business. Should we ban all businesses from town? I remember the same arguments about Kensington Green on Main St. It was next to the elementary school and a "bad element" would put our kids in danger. It was said, "Those businesses are notoriously unprofitable and it will leave us with a useless building, right on Main St!" Yet, it is still there and thriving. It may not work out the way they planned, but no business is risk free. I like the developer's vision for the property and I hope they are successful in their endeavor.
Joe McMahon January 15, 2014 at 11:13 PM
Great...part II of the public hearing should be next week at Pomperaug. You should come to show your support.

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