A public hearing on a proposed rezoning of a Bullis Road parcel for a lumberyard by owner John Schubert filled the Marilla Community Center last week.
Schubert plans to build a small lumberyard and retail paint store on his property, which is across from a church, an elementary school and the town library. It is within walking distance of the center of town.
Remarks and questions flew from a half dozen residents out of the 60 or more in attendance Thursday night.
Next-door neighbor Karen Thompson said that she was concerned about traffic, which she said is already heavy in that area, and that the number of 18-wheelers that go through town daily will increase. She lambasted the Planning Board, claiming the residents' concerns fell on deaf ears at a meeting. She said she isn't against Schubert's plans but wants him to build it elsewhere.
Former Supervisor Pete Ziccardi, who lives across the street from the Schuberts, said "the Planning Board did not do its job" and cited safety as his "biggest concern."
He said he was surprised the proposal had gotten so far, claiming the Planning Board should have nipped it in the bud.
"Where were they with the town's master plan, keeping Marilla green, a rural lifestyle?" he asked. People worked for years on that plan and, according to it, commercial stores should be developed at Two Rod and Clinton roads and Two Rod and Jamison roads, he said.
Deputy Supervisor George Gertz, presiding at the meeting for the absent Supervisor John Foss, said the Town Board will not be making a decision for a while.
"We will not be rushed through this," he said. "When a decision is made, it will be done at a public board meeting."
Planning Board member Rich Janiga said, "It is a misconception that there will be a lumber mill in town. It is a small lumberyard and small store. No logs will be sawed. We reviewed the master plan, and this business fits into the plan.
"If we moved it to Jamison and Two Rod roads, we would have the same opposition -- just different people."
At the end of the hearing, Schubert presented the board a petition favoring the lumberyard with 64 signatures he had gathered the night before.