continued “This is a tough decision for all of us, because most of us on this board … went through this last year,” Calder said. “It is hard to make a decision for the eight, nine, or 10 families and the 29,999 people that are going to pay more taxes because we do need a tax base.”
Calder said he was voting against the rezone not to appease neighbors but because of the possibility of increased traffic to the surrounding area. He also cited the majority of the planning commission as being concerned over the increased traffic.
“I can’t base my vote on eight people or eight families, it would be wrong to do, but I am basing my vote on the traffic at the four corners,” he said.
Buffardi voted in support of the resolution based on the “financial interest” of the town to develop the vacant property.
“No one wants anything in their backyard and I understand that,” Buffardi said. “We are in a bleak financial position for a lot of reasons. … We have to look in terms of economic development.”
Neighboring residents opposing the rezone have suggested a small business or strip mall of stores be built at the location instead, but Buffardi said he doesn’t see those projects as realistic possibilities.
He also fears the property will become derelict and blighted, similar to the former Capitol Plaza, which is now the site of the Recovery Room Sports Grill.
“I see this deteriorating in the same way that we saw the Capitol Plaza deteriorate and be an eyesore to this community,” he said.
If the new CVS was constructed, the two existing CVS stores in town are planned to close, according Donald Zee, an attorney representing the developer. CVS leases its stores at Broadway and Five Corners and the leases are close to expiring.
“They don’t own any properties in Rotterdam, so they will go elsewhere,” Buffardi said of CVS.
Zee said if the rezone doesn’t pass at least one of the two existing stores is likely to close.