BATAVIA — The Town of Batavia Planning Board took no formal action on an application to build two buildings for restaurant/retail in the parking lot of the vacant Kmart at Lewiston and Park roads.

Resident Jerry Arena, owner of Jerry Arena’s Pizzeria, 8360 Lewiston Rd., spoke against the project, calling it a “horrible” idea.

The application is by Benderson Development, LLC, for construction of two buildings for a total of 10,752 square feet at 8363 Lewiston Rd. One of the buildings would be a 4,000-square-foot structure on the northwest corner of the parking lot. It will house a single restaurant with a drive-thru. The other building, 6,752 square feet, in the south part of the lot will be a multi-tenant building, with space for a restaurant and coffee shop, and will also have a drive-thru.

Arena said a public hearing was the last place he wanted to be on a Tuesday night, but added, “It’s the first place I need to be.”

“I love Batavia. I care about its future. I care about my fellow citizens. I care about their safety and quality of life,” he said. “Quality of life and safety of its constituents should be a priority for Planning Board members …”

The traffic congestion would be like going through Tokyo or New York City, he said.

“It’s all about filling the Kmart building and we don’t want to really talk about that tonight, but we know Benderson will be back at the trough and asking to fill that building,” he said.

The business owner held up the notice of public hearing invitation that he received to attend Tuesday night.

“The mere fact that I got one represents the fact that this special use permit affects my property at 8360 Lewiston Rd. and my neighbors,” Arena said. “I just shake my head when I see this. If I’m perceived as I’m angry, it’s because I really am. I’m just flabbergasted that this could get this far. I wish every citizen could have got a notice like I got; everyone not only in Batavia — the town of Batavia, city of Batavia, Genesee County, because it affects them when they do their holiday shopping.”

Arena said the project will add to the existing Lewiston Road and Park Road traffic flow congestion. Arena also said there is a possibility that, if the development moves forward, he will file an injunction.

“I care about Batavia. I care about the citizens,” he said. “If I do proceed, there’s a lot of legal stuff here that could be talked about.”

“If there should become a legal challenge to this, I think my lawyers would have a pretty good shot,” he said.

Planning Board Chair Kathleen Jasinski said the public hearing was on the drive-thrus, which are what the special use permit request is for. The vacant Kmart building is not part of what the Planning Board was dealing with Tuesday night, she said.

Arena said he thought it should be a big part of what the board considers.

“It’s not. It’s only a public hearing tonight. We’re not taking any action on this tonight. We’re only getting input from the public to help us make decisions,” Jasinski said. “That’s why we’re going to give you an opportunity to talk.

“We are concerned, Jerry, about safety,” Jasinski said.

Earlier, Benderson Civil Engineer Katherine Rowe said the project would increase the green space and landscaping, especially along Lewiston Road. There will be new curbing and pavement around both buildings and the entrance on Lewiston Road.

“We are updating the utilities and we are also putting in new site lighting,” Rowe said. “With that being said, both of these buildings require a special use permit for the drive-thrus. We made sure the drive thrus have sufficient stacking. I think we are just waiting on the traffic impact study.”

Jasinski said there will be a traffic study available for people to look at probably in a week or two. Building Inspector Daniel Lang said he was told before the next Planning Board meeting, a firm the town is working with is to get a traffic study done for the proposed project site before any action is taken.

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Source Google News – Read the original article

Business owner opposes Kmart parking lot building project – The Daily News Online

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