CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Developers of a proposed Wal-Mart Super Center across the street from the Cortlandt Town Center met with concerned neighbors Monday evening, at the Muriel H. Morabito Community Center.
“I’ll have to die in my house, that’s what’s going to happen,” said Barbara Cicatelli. “They’re going to be right up in my backyard,” she said about the proposed Wal-Mart, which borders her home.
The 22-acre megastore is part of a pending application by developers Westrock Development, on a 36-acre piece of land across from the Cortlandt Town Center. Currently, the proposal is for the store to be open 24-hours per day and offer a full service grocery, light car maintenance and pharmacy.
"Probably most importantly, we’re able to offer a new grocery offering, which we’re not able to do at our location across the street in the Cortlandt Town Center," said Jason Klipa, Wal-Mart spokesperson, about why the location is attractive to the big box store.
The proposed store is 170,000 square feet including the garden department, with 893 parking spaces. Wal-Mart’s current facility at the Cortlandt Town Center is 147,000 square feet.
Opinions were mixed among the roughly one dozen neighbors who browsed displays at the informal information session late afternoon, Monday. Many neighborhood residents were concerned about increased traffic, light and noise pollution, but some couldn’t disregard the benefit of a new traffic light and sewer system, which would be installed by the developers.
The entrance of the new Wal-Mart is currently proposed directly across the street from the Cortlandt Town Center’s main entrance, on West Brook Drive.
Although most engineers and developers denied there would be any additional traffic as a result of the new Wal-Mart, Richard Pearson, of John Meyer Consulting, who will likely conduct a traffic study for the project, said, “I’m not saying there’s not going to be any new traffic,” but he said without a study, there was no concrete way of knowing how much more traffic would be brought into the area.
Westrock Development proposed the 36-acre megastore site across the street from the Cortlandt Town Center. Westrock Development has considered other projects for the area, including a current application before the Cortlandt Planning Board for a 95,000-square-foot shopping center and 10 residential homes. Steve Oder, of Westrock Development, said developers would not be able to install a traffic light and sewer system in this proposal, but would be able to with the Wal-Mart proposal.
In order for the Wal-Mart Supercenter to be considered, the town board would need to rezone a large portion of the site from R-40 (residential) to C-D (commercial development). Some members of the Cortlandt Town Board expressed noise and traffic concerns when the project was presented to the board about one month ago, but did not directly object to the proposal.
“Anything is a tradeoff,” said Cortlandt Town Board member John Sloan. “We’re not tooth and nail to keep them in town, if they want to leave it’s fine.”
The project would border about 80 homes and the Lakeland School District’s Van Cortlandtville Elementary School. The Cortlandt Town Board must approve the zoning change for the project to go forward.