After four hours of discussion, questions, comments and rebuttals, the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission had little choice but to approve a request from Dollar Tree representatives to suspend Thursday's meeting and pick things up right where they left them one month from now.
There were no pivotal decisions made by the commission Thursday, but it was a night during which the battle between Dollar Tree, Inc. and a group of Rainbow residents took full form.
The group of residents opposing Dollar Tree's proposed one-million-square-foot distribution center were represented by legal counsel for the first time at a public meeting.
That said, residents were able to give Dollar Tree representatives a run for their money Thursday, revealing what they saw as holes in the Fortune 500 company's case for application approval.
The glaring hole exposed Thursday was the truth about pesticides found in the soil where Dollar Tree plans to build.
Zoned industrial since the 1950's, the site Dollar Tree would like to build on has actually been used for agricultural purposes at lease since the turn of the twentieth centure, according to farming maps at the Windsor Historical Society.
The agricultural history is not denied by either party; neither is the fact that the pesticides chlordane and dieldrin were found in the soil.
What is being denied is full disclosure of the results of soil testing completed.
When asked to reveal the results, Dollar Tree attorney Tom Fahey said the company has a non-disclosure agreement with Griffin Land, the current property owner.
Fahey added that the company will not release specifics of the soil testing completed on the site now or in the future.
He added that testing results were below that that qualifying for a significant environmental hazard, and that the project "does not need to comply with RSR," remediation standard regulations, givent that there has been no incident of extreme contamination requiring a report be made to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
With or without knowledge of the specific levels of pesticides found on the site, those opposed to the project clung to the fact that Dollar Tree is keeping information from the public, and many argued that the commission would be unable to make a decision on this application without facts that are germane to the purpose of the commission.
"It's clear why they're not releasing the results of the soil tests. They're bad." said Catherine Cicero, whose Stone Road home is directly across the street from the proposed distribution center site.
"Otherwise they'd be waving [the results] around," she added.
Both Dollar Tree and counsel representing Rainbow residents under the group name Save Windsor's Neighborhoods, took time to address the commission, and call experts up to the microphone in order to give testimony of their findings.
The commission's take on arguments presented were still unknown Thursday when the meeting was adjourned at roughly 10:30 p.m. Commission members' opinions on Dollar Tree's application will remain unkown until May 1, when the commission will hold its next meeting; commission members are barred from speaking about the application until then.
In early March the commission unanimously approved Dollar Tree's application, finding that their plans would have little impact on the wetlands in the area.
That decision was rescinded Thursday to allow for a public hearing, which will evenutally be followed by another vote.
The public hearing remains open and will continue on May 1.
Although Dollar Tree refused to release results of its soil tests and the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission has yet to vote on the company's application, Thursday's meeting can be taken as a small victory for the project's opposition.
Just days after an effort to force a town-wide vote and reverse the Town Council's approval of a 40-percent tax abatement for the company, Thursday's public hearing managed to delay the project for another month.
Dollar Tree expressed wishes to break ground in April, but with the project not coming before the commission again for another month, breaking gorund in the next few weeks won't happen.
The Dollar Tree project will come before the Town Planning and Zoning Commission on Tues., April 10.