SOUTHWICK- Opponents of the proposed Carvana facility are staging a protest June 26 at the site of the project — the Griffin Land Trust – at the intersection of College Highway and Tannery Road.
The protest is being organized through the “Keep Southwick Green No Carvana” Facebook group that was started after public outcry against the project. It will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the sidewalk at the site.
The Carvana project was made public during the May 19 Economic Development Commission meeting. Proponents of the project say that Carvana will bring jobs and economic growth to Southwick.
Opponents of the project have expressed concerns over the environmental impact of the project. Southwick resident Kevin Meder, who started the Facebook group in protest of the project, said that he wants Southwick to be able to develop, but that he would like to see it done via other avenues.
“It’s 2021, there are different ways of doing business,” said Meder. “Carvana is an anti-union organization and there must be better ways to go around the town development.”
Meder said that protesters will not step onto the actual parcel of land on June 26. He said they will remain on the adjacent sidewalk where one has a view of a large part of the Griffin Land Trust property.
“When you stand there it really brings into picture how beautiful the land is and how we need to protect it,” said Meder.
The Griffin Land Trust farmland right now. Should the Carvana facility be approved, it would be paved over with asphalt to fit a maximum of about 8,000 vehicle parking spots.
Meder said that the June 26 protest will be the last real chance for opponents of the project to have their voices heard before a June 29 Planning Board hearing on the project.
Select Board member Douglas Moglin is the board’s designee for the project. He and the other Select Board members said June 14 that Southwick needs to have a balance of residential, commercial, and industrial properties if the town is going to properly grow.
Moglin said that the property has been looked at as a potential industrial development spot for years. Three years ago, he said there was a company that wanted to build a facility on the property that would have constructed a much larger building than what is being proposed by Carvana. That project would only have brought 40 jobs to Southwick, Moglin said. The Carvana facility is projected to bring 428 jobs to the area.
Griffin Land Realty privately owns the property.