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Persistence pays off for CVS in Rotterdam

Store proposal moves forward, residents still slam plans

A preliminary site plan for the proposed CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Lawndale Avenue and Curry Road is displayed during the Rotterdam Town Board Meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The conceptual plan included several changes from the previous proposal.

A preliminary site plan for the proposed CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Lawndale Avenue and Curry Road is displayed during the Rotterdam Town Board Meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The conceptual plan included several changes from the previous proposal. Photo by John Purcell.

— Andrew Brick, an attorney representing developer Gershman Brown Crowley, explained changes to the preliminary site plan before the board voted. The revised application package submitted to the Town Board wasn’t publicly available before the meeting.

“These revisions are in response to concerns raised by members of the public as well as by Town Board members,” Brick said.

The revisions include prohibiting right turns onto Lawndale from the southwest exit; installing signs prohibiting trucks from entering neighborhood; clarifying that the Planning Commission will determine what fencing is installed on residential facing sides; identifying where landscaping will be placed for a visibility buffer; marking existing curb cuts along Lawndale Avenue with proposed curb cuts; clarifying the dumpster will be fully enclosed and out of sight; showing areas to be landscaped along Guilderland Avenue and Curry Road; and setting proposed sidewalks.

Required documents not previously submitted were also given to the town, said Brick, which included consent from property owners, copies of all owners’ deeds and the proper environmental assessment form.

“We have worked diligently to address the concerns articulating by the neighbors and the Town Board,” he said.

Calvin Rugg, a Sunrise Boulevard resident, claimed the proposed rezone was spot zoning and not carefully planned.

“Spot zoning, I feel, offers little quality of life improvement when you are changing a residential area to a commercial area,” Rugg said. “The attorneys for the proposed project can stand up and wave the plan in the air with their arms and say, ‘This plan complies with your building codes, why not approve it?’”

Rugg asked board members to consider if they were a neighboring homeowner and what their decision would be.

“Is this something you would like to see as you look out your front window?” Rugg asked.

Roxanne Heller, living nearby on Oakdale Avenue, spoke out again against the proposed CVS. She said residents aren’t against the vacant building getting turned into “something useful,” such as a strip mall with small shops.

“This town, this area, does not need another CVS,” Heller said. “We have two within five minutes of here and we have Rite Aid right across the street. I cannot see where shutting down two more buildings and combining them into one is good for our community.”

She suggested CVS should upgrade its current nearby buildings if it wants to generate more business. CVS purchased the land for the proposed Rotterdam storefront over three years ago.

After the board approved the resolution, several residents opposing the plan murmured, “They’ve already sold us out,” before angrily leaving the meeting.

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