Planning Board favors smaller Lowe’s facing Volunteer Road

In a surprise move Monday night the Town of Geneseo Planning Board voted to reduce the size of the proposed Lowe’s in the Geneseo Town Centre from 169,000 to a maximium of 140,000 square feet, including garden center. The vote for the approximately 17% reduction in size passed 3-2 with member Mark Shepherd abstaining. The motion was made by Tom Curtin and seconded by Patti Lavigne, with Marge Wilkie joining in favor. Chairman Dwight Folts and member Hank Latorella voted against. The seventh member, Trish Jones, was absent from the meeting.

The vote came after a lengthy discussion of the environmental impacts of the proposed project under SEQR. Tom Curtin made the point that the underlying zoning, which calls for no more than 35,000 square feet should not be totally ignored. It was clear that he was also looking for a compromise that would help reduce some of the public controversey over the issue.

The board also voted 5-1 to approve the so-called CP-3 layout which requires the building to face Volunteer Road instead of the developer’s preferred orientation (CP-5) which faced more towards Rt. 20-A. Again, respect for the underlying zoning seemed to be the dominant concern. That zoning also prohibits access from Rt. 20-A which the board also debated at length.

The approved layout does allow access from Rt. 20 -A at Morganview Road, however, it was hoped that the entrance to the back of the building would mainly be used for tractor trailer access. It was thought that this layout would significantly cut down on the amount of traffic using the Morganview entrance as a short-cut to Veteran’s Drive. Member Marge Wilkie voted against this layout, saying she could only support it if the exit was made right turn only.

After debating the issues for almost 3 hours, the board decided to delay final action on the Findings under SEQR until the May 27 meeting. This will allow the board’s attorney time to draft a final Findings statement in line with the decisions made by the board last night.

The meeting was attended by over 50 concerned citizens who for a time overflowed the room. Order was kept by three police officers who would not allow the audience to exceed the posted capacity of the room of 66 people. This led to a situation in which some members of the public were not allowed to enter the meeting room until someone else left.

Members of PDDG said they were somewhat encouraged by the developments. “We are certainly glad to see the board acknowledge the importance of the underlying zoning,” Bill Lofquist said. “Of course, we would have preferred a Negative Finding, or even stricter limits on building size and total elimination of Rt. 20-A access.”

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6 responses to “Planning Board favors smaller Lowe’s facing Volunteer Road

  1. Correction: I have amended my original report of Monday’s meeting because I apparently misunderstood what the board actually adopted with the CP-3 layout. From the comments made by board members it appeared to me that they intended to cut off traffic passing around the south side of the Lowe’s and only allow traffic coming in the Morganview entrance to go around the back. of the store. Wishful thinking!

    A closer look at the map of the CP-3 layout indicates that vehicles can turn left after entering and cut across to Veteran’s Drive. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and I hope the board will re-consider this idea.

  2. I have a feeling they will be reconsidering more than just that idea.

  3. With this new change to the Lowes’ project at the planning board, I think that they have destroyed the process. We all had a public hearing on the original project. The planning board went from the D.E.I.S. level to the F.E.I.S. with that same plan. If they change the plan, size, direction, roads and what they present to the town board is different, then they have broken the process.

    With this development, they NEED to start over with a new Environmental Impact Study and present the PUBLIC with what is supposed to be built BEFORE just sending any old thing to the town board. I hope they don’t think that they can act as Gods and do what they want without the correct process. Then, they have failed this community and should be removed from their positions. Maybe the school kids at GCS can pick a design and present it.

  4. Mr. Rogers,

    Don’t you find it facinating that over the course of this issue, the PDDG has argued over and over that the process is flawed? Now, with the process really broken, as you say, the PDDG is encouraged by the compromise. I find that to be facinating myself. I also expect we will see some more twists and turns in a few weeks.

  5. At what point did the Planning Board stray from the process path? They have been advised by their attorney every step of the way to protect the process.

    The Findings may be amended before approval. It is difficult for all sides when the end of the road is in view and there is no resounding “victory” for anyone. That is the nature of compromise.

    The current state of affairs is that the Planning Board is responding responsibly and thoughtfully to citizens concerns, is attempting to make a tip of the hat to underlying zoning, and is trying by its actions today to control future development. All of this has come in the context of the process.

    Attention all grown men and women of intelligence currently concerned that Lowe’s will put its corporate tail between its legs and run away from a few compromises: They will make a lot of noise but they will not run away from a prime spot in one of the fastest growing communities in Upstate. There is light at the end of the process tunnel.

  6. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Poplar!

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