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Batavia residents come out in force against proposed Arby’s

BATAVIA – Vernon Avenue residents have quite the beef with a proposed Arby’s restaurant in their neighborhood and they’re coming out en masse to let local government officials know about it.

About 30 residents of the street attended City Council and Genesee County Planning Board meetings this week to voice their displeasure with a site plan to construct an Arby’s at the south end of the city street, which intersects with West Main Street.

David Steele of 44 Vernon Ave. presented a petition to Council members that he said was signed by 95 percent of those who live on the street.

“We strongly oppose this for a number of reasons,” said Steele, who went on to point out factors such as additional noise, 24-hour lighting, destruction of trees, traffic congestion at Main and Vernon, and increased traffic flow on the street.

One of the drive-thru lanes of the restaurant would exit onto Vernon Avenue. Batavia developer Ronald L. Viele’s plan is to buy and then raze three houses on Main and Vernon to make room for the restaurant. The area is zoned for commercial use.

John McCulley of 7 Vernon Ave., whose house is close to West Main Street, said he recently moved to Batavia from the Buffalo area. He said he settled on Vernon Avenue because realtors told him that it was a “quiet street.”

“I’ve just put about $10,000 into the house and I would be very saddened to hear that,” he said. “It would probably force us to put the house up for sale and move somewhere else. Already, we’re subjected to constant lighting from the Dodge dealership at the corner.”

Vernon Avenue residents at the Planning Board meeting apparently made an impact as the board made a recommendation against the proposal, rejecting Arby’s requests for special use and sign permits and a series of variances.

The Batavia Planning & Development Committee is expected to consider the proposal at its meeting Tuesday, and the issue could go to the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 28. Those two groups have the last word on the site plan.