Tag Archives: Clarence First

Clarence First & the Wegmans Proposal at Roll & Transit

7 Jun

I have read the concerns of the Clarence First group and have the following comments:

1. The Clarence Master Plan shows the entirety of Transit Road as being “commercial” use. More specifically, at its drafting in 2000, the area bordering Transit Road is zoned as “major arterial”. The area behind that, where Wegmans wants to go, is shown as “agricultural”. The Master Plan would change that to “residential”, except Transit in Swormville, north of County Road, would be “mixed use”. At Roll & Transit, white is “residential”, and pink is “commercial”:

The Master Plan proposes that the areas around Roll & Transit be zoned as “arterial” (purple), and the neighborhoods bounding it are “low density residential” (yellow):

The problem here isn’t the area fronting Transit Road – it’s the area between the Highland Farms subdivision and the properties fronting Transit. That’s the “Section B” that Wegmans wants re-zoned.

The Clarence First website doesn’t cite any specific portion of the Master Plan that would prohibit this project, but instead quotes vague principles espoused within the Master Plan, such as:

striving to maintain the rural character of these roadways, outside of hamlet and subdivisions

That passage has nothing to do with Transit Road, but may be applicable to Roll. The passage in the Master Plan from which this passage is taken deals with the subdivisions in and around Clarence Center, and that these 2,000 new homes have impacted traffic volume along these rural feeder roads. The Master Plan requires that they maintain their rural character, regardless of any future updates to them. Clarence First omitted the parenthetical that immediately follows that passage:

(no sidewalks, curbs etc. outside of developed areas).

In any event, the Wegmans plan doesn’t make any update or upgrade to Roll Road – it merely includes a feeder driveway to the store off Roll. There’s nothing rural about that particular part of town. Although a few of the properties in question would have to be re-zoned, it doesn’t change the fact that a Wegmans at that location does not fundamentally violate the land use envisioned for almost all of the Transit Road corridor – that of “major arterial”.

2. There is a genuine and real concern about the fact that Transit Middle School is directly across the street from the proposed Wegmans. Although a traffic signal is planned, that doesn’t provide adequate protection for kids who cross Transit from the neighborhoods in Clarence to attend the Middle School. Therefore, as a condition to approval and zoning changes, Wegmans should be required to construct a pedestrian bridge to enable children and other pedestrians to cross Transit Road without interacting in any way with the traffic below. And no, it doesn’t have to be ugly.

3. The homes in question are within spitting distance of Transit Road, and have been very fortunate indeed that no major construction has taken place on the adjacent parcels fronting that busy street. Callous as the “coming to the nuisance” doctrine may seem, you don’t move next to the airport and complain about the jet noise, so you don’t move near Transit Road and complain about big box stores and congestion. Wegmans should obviously take extraordinary measures to ensure that the buffer between it and the adjacent subdivision is adequate so as to minimize the affect the new store will have on these properties. The buffer width might need to be expanded.

4. I’m not convinced that a Wegmans will have all that bad an effect on surrounding neighborhoods. Frankly, I’d love to be walking distance from a grocery store, and the Williamsville School District isn’t exactly poorly regarded. Whatever value those homes would lose due to their proximity to the Transit Road corridor is probably de minimis, if not already factored into the equation.

None of this is meant as an attack on the genuinely concerned residents living in the immediate area, and in anticipation of some criticism, no, Wegmans has not paid me or otherwise remunerated or rewarded me for writing this post. I’m just a regular shopper who frequents the existing Transit Road store, and would like it expanded to resemble the “big” Wegmans on Sheridan.

Both sides of the issue are encouraged to attend the Town Board Meeting at Clarence Town Hall on June 10th at 7:30 pm.