Richmondville Dollar General could hinge on pedestrian access


By Jim Poole

Pedestrian access to the proposed Dollar General Store in Richmondville may be a stumbling block for the new store.
The village planning board Wednesday recommended the village board approve Dollar General's site plan, with conditions, and pedestrian access was the major one.
Dollar General is proposing to build a store about a quarter-mile east of the Radez School driveway, across from the Richmondville Volunteer Emergency Squad station.
Planning board members, as they have before, said Wednesday they believe there will be many walkers to the store. Their recommendation reads that they'd like to see "protected pedestrian access" to Dollar General.
A few planning board members have said a sidewalk would be ideal. A letter from the state Department of Transportation estimated a quarter-mile sidewalk would cost $100,000.
County Senior Planner Shane Nickle, who's attended the meetings, said DOT's figure was probably low.
Primax Properties, the developer, has offered to put $10,000 towards the sidewalk and also offered an easement to encourage the project.
Primax appears unlikely to increase its offer.
"Building the entire sidewalk is a cost burden for a project this size," engineer Caryn Mlodzianowski, representing Dollar General, told the planning board Wednesday.
Others agreed.
"I love the idea of a sidewalk," said planning board Co-Chair Diana Spenello, "but it's a lot of money for anyone to shell out."
"The sidewalk shouldn't be a dealbreaker," added board member Joan Sondergaard. "To insist on a sidewalk isn't right."
But those believing the sidewalk was too costly also felt there still must be safety measures for pedestrians. Possibilities mentioned included guardrails, crosswalks and lower speed limits on Route 7.
After the meeting, Ms. Spenello said the village board may have other ideas.
"We've been working on this so long, our view is kind of narrow," she said. "Let's see what the village board of trustees can come up with. "They're a talented group.
"More discussion might open up some creative ideas."
The planning board had three other conditions:
•Vinyl shutters on both sides of the building. Ms. Mlodzianowski seemed agreeable.
•Signs that conform to the village zoning law. Ms. Mlodzianowski said Dollar General may seek a zoning variance.
•A fire hydrant near the store entrance. Ms. Mlodzianowski agreed to this.
In other discussion Wednesday, planning board members touched on issues raised at earlier meetings and public hearings, including whether the new store fit well with Richmondville.
Many believe that the store could "ruin the character of the village," Ms. Spenello said, but that was counterbalanced by convenience, location, jobs, money circulating in the community and an increased tax base.
Board members also believed that Dollar General fits with the village's Richmondville Gateway zone, a new designation approved by the village board in March.
"It certainly fits in with what's there," said Ms. Sondergaard, pointing to the RVES building and storage units further east.