About 200 Southwood residents and a handful of local officials packed the Southwood Fire Department Aug. 1 to voice their opposition to a proposed Nice N Easy convenience store. The store would be built at the site of what is currently Chip's Deli on East Seneca Turnpike, just outside Jamesville.
The meeting was organized by Howard Reals Jr., a citizen opposed to the convenience store. Reals stated that he's received more than 300 signatures from residents urging the town to halt the project if it comes before them. There has been no formal application given to the town as of yet from Nice N Easy President John MacDougall, who was not at the meeting.
"We're not against Nice N Easy stores," Reals said. "We're for our community."
If the project were to go forward, zoning at the site would have to be changed from "planned economic" to "neighborhood shopping" because it would be a grocery market as well as a gas station.
"I'm not thrilled about this proposal, that's why I'm here," Reals said. "There is no upside to this, no benefit to our community."
A building plan that Reals displayed at the meeting shows that the Nice N Easy would cover 21/2 acres of land, over twice the size of Chip's Deli. The gas pumps would require a 24 by 113-foot canopy, with 59 parking spots available for customers.
"There are property owners here tonight that would definitely see a drop in their property value," Reals said. "The noise, air pollution, sounds; it's imaginable what would happen. Our way of life would change dramatically. I was told by a financial planner that this was a great area to retire when I moved here years ago, and I'm not about to ruin my retirement."
Reals mentioned he'd like to see another "mom and pop" operation like Chip's Deli, which drew applause from the packed house. Chip's is owned by Walter Giemza, also not present.
Onondaga Town Supervisor Tom Andino reminded residents that there has not yet been a formal proposal given to the town board.
"I see a number of proposals every month at town board meetings. Often they come and go, and are never heard from again," Andino said.