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Neighbors resist drugstore relocation

LEWISTON -- A plan to move a CVS drugstore out of its current plaza site and into a residential area across the street was presented to the town Planning Board on Thursday.

The move across Townline/Hoover Road would keep the store on Saunders Settlement Road but move it from the Town of Cambria into a larger free-standing store in Lewiston, and also move from an established business plaza onto land that currently has three homes. If the plan is approved, the homes would be torn down to make way for the store.

Residents were not given an opportunity to speak during the informational meeting, but about 20 residents attended and spoke with The Buffalo News after the meeting.

Karen A. Rader, who lives in the Griffin Street home that would be closest to the proposed store, said she already has a petition with the names of 70 people who oppose relocating the store.

"I'm concerned about traffic and changing the neighborhood's character," Rader said. She began collecting signatures as soon as she learned what was planned for the corner, she said.

Wilbur Treichler, who also lives on Griffin Street, said the site is too small for this type of project and said Griffin Street is too narrow to accommodate increased traffic.

"I'm all for bringing new business to the town, but not here," Treichler said.

Frank M. Romeo of Romeo Land Development said the new store would expand the size of the store by about 35 percent, from 8,800 square feet to 11,945. The proposed site would also have 71 parking spaces and a drive through drop-off/pickup area for prescriptions.

Romeo said free-standing drugstores offer the company better control over things such as trash and parking and have no landlord problems to deal with.

When questioned why a drive-through has to be next to existing neighbors, Romeo said the floor plan is "set in concrete" and must have the front entrance on Saunders Settlement Road and the pharmacy at the back of the store.

Planning Board members encouraged Romeo to reach out to neighbors for their support, but he told them that he tried, but "they were reluctant to talk to me."

Planning Board member Joan Wolfgang suggested that Romeo go door-to-door with his plan and said, "If you are looking for rezoning, you should have a nice talk with the neighbors. You have to make the effort. Someone has to be positive about this project."

She said the current CVS plaza is ill-configured and not in good condition, but added that Saunders Settlement Road is already heavily traveled.

"A lot of people would like to have more commercial property, but if there's going to be more traffic, we have to be really sure," Wolfgang said.

Wolfgang received applause from the audience when she suggested that the store be moved away from residences, toward Saunders Settlement Road.

Romeo said if people in the Sanborn area want to see more services, their store would set the standard for building style.

The Planning Board set a public hearing on the store plan for its next meeting at 7 p.m. May 17.


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