Finally someone, Jason Flemma, "gets it right" on the Stewarts issue . . . and the fact that this comes from one of Utica's newest councilpersons raises hope for Utica's future.
Mr. Flemma points out that Stewarts has scaled back its Culver Avenue proposal from 6 pumps to 4, that the entire project will be shifted toward the (commercial) Culver Ave. side, that a "green space" with plantings and privacy fence will buffer the residential area to the west, and that Stewarts will extend a fence on city property to prevent children from running out in traffic.
Isn't this how the planning process is supposed to work? The developer listened to the public, and changed its project to meet the public's needs!
Go to Culver Avenue and see that other businesses have buffered their impacts to neighboring residents in the exact same way.
Granting a variance is not "running roughshod" over the zoning ordinance. Variances are contained in the zoning ordinance to allow worthy projects to go forward when adjusted to meet conditions on the ground. This is a worthy project. It will bring in property taxes and sales taxes, beautify a non-descript parcel of land, transfer ownership to a party that will be capable of dealing with any contamination that might be on site . . . and quite possibly break the stranglehold on gas prices created by the limited number of purveyors in the city.
The revised Stewarts project on Culver Avenue should be approved.