The much disputed plan for a Walgreen's at 7558 Oswego Road in Clay has officially been denied by the Clay Town Board.
The town board voted against the proposal at the Mar. 3 meeting. The plan needed a super majority to be approved because a petition was signed by more than 20 percent of the property owners that are adjacent to the lot. This meant that if only two board members voted against the plan, it would fail, according to Supervisor Jim Rowley. The proposal was defeated by a vote of 3-3.
"I would like to say that Section 265 that allows these super majorities is unfair to democracy because two board members can control zoning policy," Rowley said. "I think this is a missed opportunity for the Bayberry area."
Residents of Bayberry came to town meetings and voiced their displeasure with the Walgreen's project. Many said the proposed building was too big and the drug store would create noise and pollution. Town board member Robert Edick agreed with these residents and voted against the proposal.
"The area is very green and there are a lot of old trees," Edick said. "The building would just not be environmentally sound."
Rowley voted in favor of the proposed Walgreen's and expressed his disappointment that the residents were so against the project. He said the Walgreen's fit with all the zoning standards and would even cut down on traffic by eliminating three curb cuts on Oswego Road. Rowley said he wants to encourage new business in the area and residents need to be open to change.
"I think that a lot of the reasons that people gave against the Walgreen's is personal bias because they think they don't need a drug store," said Rowley. "A person's personal bias does not resonate with me, and I really think the residents are missing out."