About 60 local citizens attended the town meeting on the Newman PDD application last night at St. Mary’s Parish Center. Although the crowd was mainly anti-Lowe’s it included a few people who spoke in favor of the project, including Hank Latorella and Bob Ricotta. Keep Geneseo Vibrant and Growing (KGVG) founder Ted Universal did not show up despite a personal invitation from the sponsors, Please Don’t Destroy Geneseo.
The event was moderated by Rev. Mark Lattime of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church who began the evening by setting up ground rules for the discussion. He requested that the event be considered “a listening” as opposed to the public hearing that is scheduled for next Monday at the Geneseo Central School. “We are not here to debate,” he said and asked that all comments be directed to him as the moderator.
Present were three of the candidates for Town Supervisor, but not the incumbent. None of the candidates for town board or other members of the current town board were present. In contrast all four village trustees attended, but not the Mayor. Marge Wilkie was the only member of the town planning board in attendance.
Major subjects discussed were traffic, the PDD process, economic impact and the potential effect on community character. Speakers were limited to two minutes each, although some just wanted to ask questions. Many were concerned about the structure of next week’s public hearing, which is scheduled to run from 6 to 11 p.m. and to be broken up into five separate segments.
“Do we really need to be there for five hours if want to comment on more than one aspect of the project,” one asked. The answer was that at this point those seem to be the ground rules that the town has devised. It was pointed out that the town board will be meeting this Thursday and people with concerns about the format might want to go to that meeting.
It was also suggested that if there is not enough time for everyone who wants to speak at the hearing next week that a request could be made to continue the hearing on a second night. It will also be possible to submit written comments on the DEIS for up to 10 days after the hearing.