SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – A group of Southwick residents came together Saturday morning to protest against the proposed Carvana car processing warehouse in the town.
The rally began at 10:00 a.m. in front of the town hall and it’s the latest in resident’s efforts to voice their concerns. Southwick residents including ‘Save Southwick,’ a citizens group in opposition of the proposed Carvana warehouse, hosted the rally.
Carvana is proposing to build a vehicle processing warehouse in which their vehicles are repaired and cleaned before being sent to other locations. The project would include a 65-acre facility on 137 acres of undeveloped farmland off of College Highway and Tannery Road.
“We’re a small rural community, we’re a right to farm community, and to put something this big on viable agricultural land, it just doesn’t make sense for us,” Maryssa Cook-Obergeon said.
A public hearing will be held on July 20 by the town’s planning board, who will decide if the facility will get the permits to build.
“The goal really is to fill that auditorium with as many people as possible to show the planning board the scale of opposition to this,” Cook-Obergeon said.
According to ‘Save Southwick,’ Carvana representatives estimate the facility will use 9 million gallons of water annually. Southwick is currently under water restrictions and the facility will draw just over 2,600 vehicle trips and 90 car-carrier trips to and from the site daily.
Because of no direct highway access to Southwick, vehicles would get to the facility through Feeding Hills center in Agawam, which has become an infrastructure concern for Agawam residents and its city council as well.
“They are going to lose jobs if this comes through here. But traffic is a big concern. Agawam just finished a huge intersection project, took them years to do it. Westfield has just worked on its bridge. There’s only two roads in here, it makes absolutely no sense,” Diane Gale, Cofounder of Save Southwick said.
The Carvana facility is currently awaiting special permit approval from the town’s planning board. The Southwick Planning Board is scheduled to meet for a public hearing on the project next Tuesday.