VILLAGE OF FAYETTEVILLE – A public hearing was held at the Aug. 15 Fayetteville Planning Board meeting to gather comments from residents related to the 547 E. Genesee St. grocery store proposal.
As developer Matt Lester of Rochester-based applicant Northwood Real Estate Ventures LLC stated before the opening of the hearing, the concept plan submitted in November 2021 for the one-time O’Brien & Gere manufacturing site includes a smaller-footprint, 56,000-square-foot building—which is rumored to be a Hannaford supermarket—and aspects like the reduction of parking lot light poles to 15 feet in height to diminish light pollution and the remediation of the hazardous brownfield left behind by former occupant Accurate Die Casting.
There would also be space for a village park along with a berm, fencing and vegetation on the west side of the property as a screen for adjoining neighbors.
At this week’s Monday night meeting, presenting engineer Matthew Napierala exhibited for the attendees a video with a tracking shot around the exterior of the O’Brien & Gere building as it exists today. After, a graphic model and helicopter view showed the proposed development at a mature stage.
The villagers present were allotted three minutes to speak their minds about the project, with some adding a final point after their time was up.
A pair of residents shared the belief that three minutes of time was too minuscule an amount for community members to get their thoughts out when compared to the allowance for the developers to present for hours in total over the course of several meetings.
One woman said the convergence of truck traffic that comes with stocking a grocery store with delivered goods would disrupt the “ambience” that drew her to Fayetteville, while another resident said the project does not meet the quality of “quaintness” she expects out of the community.
Upon stepping up to the podium, village resident Mary Cunningham said the requested grocery store would drive the neighborhood Tops Friendly Market out of business if brought to fruition instead of promoting economic development.
“I really think that we are making a decision that down the line will impact us, and not necessarily in a beneficial way,” Cunningham said.
Van Cleary-Hammarstedt said during his given time that it would be premature to act on the project proposal until the update to Fayetteville’s comprehensive plan is finalized.
“What we’re doing right now is putting the cart before the horse as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
His daughter, Mikayla, said the possibility of contaminated pollutants rising in the air during the ongoing construction phase needs to be addressed as part of the discussion.
“Just putting more asphalt on top of contaminants is not doing what is right for this land right next to Green Lakes, which has incredible biodiversity,” she said.
Prior to going through with the environmental review process and any approval of the site plan and special-use permit, the planning board is still collecting data and accepting written comments specific to the site to be part of the record. The public hearing has been kept open, and it will continue at the next planning board meeting, scheduled for Sept. 12.