We are very pleased with the large outpouring of public support though our online Petition Drive against the proposed Dollar General store in the Historic District in the Town of Gaines. More help is needed in the upcoming days to try to stop this “freight train” from proceeding.
Two things will help right now:
1. We need interested parties to write letters and make phone calls to the elected Town Board and appointed Zoning Board of Appeals members in the Town of Gaines. (Contact info shown below.) You can also send a copy of any letters that you write to Susan Heard, Town Clerk, who will include your letter in the Public Record for this project. Numbers count now, so your help is important.
2. If you live in the vicinity and are available to attend Town Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings, your attendance will go a long way in making our point that this store should not be built in the Historic District. Zoning Board of Appeals meetings are normally the first Monday of each month at 7pm in the Gaines Town Hall. (Because of Labor Day, the September meeting of the ZBA has been moved to the second Monday at a new location, yet to be disclosed.) The Town Board also meets on the second Monday of each month at 7pm in the Town Hall. Here again, numbers are important.
The appointed Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) under Chairman Grabowski has “circled the wagons” and has refused to accept any further public comment at his regular meetings. However, the elected Town Board accepts public comments at the conclusion of their regular meetings.
At their August Meeting, the Town Board agreed to consider a moratorium on further development in the Historic District while an outside agency is reviewing the Zoning Ordinance. We hope that the moratorium is quickly enacted. Please urge the Town Board to enact this moratorium!
At the August meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals, they were awaiting a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) response from NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (SHPO). The SHPO response was received after their meeting and recommended that the ZBA should find an alternative site. This matter will most likely be discussed at the September ZBA meeting. Based on the way this has played out in the “shadows,” I seriously doubt that the ZBA will follow the SHPO recommendation unless they face a huge outcry of public discontent for this project. In your communication to the Zoning Board members, please urge them to follow the recommendation of over a thousand petitioners, their own Town Historian, the Orleans County Historian and also SHPO, New York State’s highest regulatory agency for historic preservation; and find another site!