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Wal-Mart Opposed by Most of Cortlandt Town Board

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – At least two members of the Cortlandt Town Board expressed outright opposition to the proposed Wal-Mart Super Center, across the street from its current location in the Cortlandt Town Center. With the exception of one board member, others expressed a cool opinion on the proposal, and were skeptical that the current conceptual design would be appropriate for the 36-acre a lot on Route 6.

“No way, no how. It’s too big. It’s too invasive. It’s too big for Route 6,” said council member Richard Becker.

“I think it hurts everything here,” he said about competition with pharmacies, automotive repair shops and grocery stores. He added, “It’s not bringing in any quality jobs.”

Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi said she was opposed to the Wal-Mart, but would support a development similar to Ridge Hill in Yonkers.

A formal application for the 22-acre megastore has not yet been made with the Town Board. Instead, Westrock Development showed the Town Board a conceptual design, and held a community meeting to gauge public opinion. Many neighbors expressed concerns about additional traffic and light and noise pollution.

For Westrock Development to begin the planning process for what would become a Walmart-owned property, the Town Board would need to rezone 26 acres of the property from residential (R-40) to commercial development (C-D). Westrock would need to submit a formal application to the town, be referred to the Planning Board for review and then come back to the Town Board for a vote on the rezoning.

The current Wal-Mart location in the Cortlandt Town Center is about 147,000 square feet. The new location would be 170,000 square feet and would include a grocery store. Wal-Mart currently rents the property in the Cortlandt Town Center, and is barred through a noncompetition agreement from offering groceries.

The new Wal-Mart Super Center location, as it was proposed during a community meeting, would be open 24 hours a day and have an automotive repair shop and a grocery store. The Wal-Mart would have 893 parking spaces, and developers said traffic would not significantly increase because of the store.

The rear of the property would buffer about 80 homes and Van Cortlandtville Elementary School.

Town Board members said Westrock Development would be brought into a future Town Board work session for board members to discuss their concerns.

The only board member who did not express serious concerns about the proposed store was council member Ann Lindau. “Why don’t we just listen? I don’t think traffic’s going to be that bad,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say to somebody, ‘No,’ but they would have to do a heck of a lot of convincing,” said council member Frank Farrell. Council member John Sloan said he was concerned about traffic, noise and light pollution and he hadn’t seen a viable solution from the developer.

Westrock Development currently has an application with the town for the same parcel to build 90,000 square feet of retail space, with about 10 homes behind the stores. The developer has said that by building the Wal-Mart, it would be able to offer a traffic light at Baker Street and sewers for the nearby neighborhoods.

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