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PLANNERS VOTE IN FAVOR OF TOPS' OLEAN PROJECT

The Cattaraugus County Planning Board requested eliminating an existing exit from the northeast corner of Olean's Tops Market parking lot as part of its recommendation Thursday that the city approve the proposed gas station.

Two board members voted against the Tops project, but eight others signaled approval on condition that the city shut off traffic in the one-lane exit. That exit drew criticism at both the Thursday night session and the Sept. 12 public hearing by the city Planning Board.

If the Planning Board authorizes the Tops site plan and the Olean Common Council approves the underground fuel tanks, the six-pump station and canopy near the West State Street entrance to Tops could serve 72 vehicles per hour.

Tops representative Patrick Broderick told board members that the service area would reduce the number of available parking spaces but that those have been replaced with some taken from areas near other businesses in the shopping center. Employee parking will be moved to a truck-loading area at the rear of the market, he said.

The fuel station will resemble the company's 11 others recently placed in operation, he said.

Several doctors practicing in a medical office building adjacent to the one-lane exit and officials from nearby nursing homes said they object to the proposal.

The prospect of additional traffic and reduced air quality were the chief issues raised. Other complaints centered on the addition of a fuel station in a nearby shopping center.

"I don't think (Tops) really understand the amount of upset this is causing to our residents," said one nursing home administrator.

Before the vote, several Planning Board members voiced dissatisfaction with congestion, traffic patterns and incompatible land uses in the vicinity of the supermarket and West State Street.

Chief planner Terry Martin advised board members to "retrofit this project to fit the situation or make modifications or turn it down flat."

Voting against the project were Ann Padlo and Florence Fuller.

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