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Ba Da Buh Buh ... Wait a Minute!

A group of citizens are petitioning to overturn the zoning approval for the McDonald's restaurant on Main Street

Planning & Zoning Commission members approved a McDonald's restaurant with a colonial design for 579 Main Street on March 17, but now a group of citizens is trying to repeal it. Anthony Casertano of Pastors Walk garnered signatures to a petition last week to "get rid of" the McDonald's.

When asked why he opposes McDonald's, Casertano, 15, said, "The traffic; the food's unhealthy; they snuck in a 24-hour drive-thru; the houses behind it are suing and you have kids who are going to loiter around it."

Donna MacKenzie and David and Colleen Santarsiero have filed a lawsuit claiming the public did not receive proper notice of McDonald's plans and that the commission improperly approved a drive-thru.

When Casertano spoke before the P&Z on Thursday night, Chairman Richard Zini told him Real Time Investments LLC brought the application to the town.

"The commission is not putting in a McDonald's," he said. "It decided on the application in accordance with the zoning regulations. It's a closed application. We're only allowed to take evidence through the hearing process. The only way to appeal is through the ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) or the court of law. The commission does not have the right to reopen a hearing."

"I thank you for your initiative though," Zini said to Casertano.

Commissioner Roger Agatston said the best time for Casertano and fellow citizens to testify against Real Time Investments' application would have been at the P&Z hearings that took place before the commission deliberated on the application.

"I was never told that," Casertano said of the hearing.

Zini said the commission is required to publish a legal notice of its hearings in the newspaper. He added the public hearings are posted in the Town Clerk's Office at Monroe Town Hall and that the town often runs notice of it on its website as an "add on."

"Under state statute, we rely on the newspaper posting," Zini said.

"What if you're not perusing the news to look it up all day?" Should there be a town letter?" asked Chris McPadden, owner of Mr. Mac's Canteen on Main Street.

"One thing he hasn't seen was where he could go, who to see," Paul Connor of Pastors Walk said of Casertano.

Zini said a validation of a petition is done at the Town Clerk's Office, which also could find how much of a statutory time limit is left to file an appeal before the ZBA. Or Casterano could appeal the decision in court.

"That's not our purview," Zini said of those options.

McPadden's main concern is the proximity of the McDonald's to Mr. Mac's Canteen.

"It's going to put out all local businesses like us," he said of the international fast food giant.

uc14 May 11, 2011 at 05:28 AM
being realistic is comparing the traffic increase as a ratio to the current daily traffic on route 25 and seeing that the increase isn't that much at all. never mind the net increase compared to meineke has been completely ignored. im sure all of the 'traffic' generated by mcdonalds will exist 24/7 and be at a constant rate throughout the day. oh, and route 111 didn't have any turning lanes except for at elm and purdy hill until the state recently revamped the road. funny that 25 is currently undergoing the same process....
uc14 May 11, 2011 at 05:31 AM
yeah john, maybe we should outlaw the sale of cigarettes and alcohol in all monroe stores too. i mean, those things have been proven to have health effects. that's what you're implicating here.
DawnV May 11, 2011 at 06:22 PM
Mr Macs, come on... look at Bill's on 111... McD's didn't run them out of town. If people would rather frequent YOUR business, they will. If not, there doesn't need to be a McD's, they will simply go somewhere else.
uc14 May 11, 2011 at 11:06 PM
i meant mr. macs has a legitimate complaint in that we should keep an eye out for local businesses in-town, but at the same time saying what you just said.
Christine E. May 11, 2011 at 11:13 PM
I'm all for the small business people (I am one), but if you're going to be on the same street as a competitor you have to make the best of it. Offer a phenomenal product that can't be beat for a good price and the money will follow. If it takes business away from the other guy, then so be it. It's the free enterprise system at its finest, and business owners have to constantly be on top of what they're doing and not get too comfortable being the only game on their side of town or their quality will slip, and they will panic like crazy when someone else moves in. That being said, I love Mr. Mac's - but if i'm in the mood for McDonalds, I would have gone across town for it anyway.

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