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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.

Anderson Chiropractic May 09, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Again, STOP calling what McDonalds sells "food". They still have a very long way to go before the low nutrient calories they market can be considered anything but factory stuff
jim laguardia May 09, 2011 at 02:51 PM
I dont oppose mcdonalds, but the 24 hour drive thru is not needed. It will draw a lot of people from Easton and Newtown (not to mention Monroe) who "have the munchies" etc...
Christine E. May 09, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Don't worry. I looooooooooooooooooove Mr. Mac's! I'm still comin'!
QWERTY May 09, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Mr. Casertano, maybe you can protest Stop n Shop because the toilet paper they sold me was too rough on my behind. Where do I begin? He purchases property next to rt. 25 and then complains when commerce is built? He's complaining about a one lane road being too congested because of a fast food restaurant? There's another 24/7 McDonalds in town, how about providing examples of increased crime due to loitering? Maybe someone should inform Mr. McPadden that Bill's Drive-in and McDonalds co-exist peacefully.
Bob Cloutier May 09, 2011 at 04:46 PM
You deserve a break day, so fire one up and get away..... to McDonalds!!!!!!
Mitchell May 09, 2011 at 05:26 PM
At least McDonalds is attitude-free when you place your order and pick it up.
Christine E. May 09, 2011 at 06:06 PM
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." He's 15? That explains a lot. Mr. Casertano, always do research before you go through so much effort. Saying "no one told you" is code for "I didn't try to find out". As for loitering, so long as a landlord enforces "no loitering" the cops can kick kids out. But, i've got news for you...i've never seen kids loitering at the McDonalds on 111 - but I've seen them in front of Subway/Dunkin Donuts at all hours of the night. I think it's stupid to make McDonalds a target for something they seem to control fairly well. As for Mr. Mac's....like I said before, I love Mr. Mac's. But, if you're concerned...On more than one occasion I have opted to go to Duchess for breakfast simply because I didn't have cash on me and didn't feel like/have time for the ATM. We live in a plastic world these days, and less people carry cash than before. When the majority of places are accepting cards, and you're not, I'm sure that alone affects business.
Christine E. May 09, 2011 at 06:14 PM
I find it ironic how much effort you put into slamming McDonald's menu when you have a job that involves neck and spinal manipulations that could result in serious injury or death. What's the difference? They're both a gamble.
DawnV May 09, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Unbelievable... As I always say, some people bitch just for the sake of bitching. Who cares! If you don't like McDonald's... don't go there!!! If you like somewhere else to eat, no one is forcing you to go to McD's instead. No other business showed any interest and we want some tax relief, don't we??? Why haven't you all tried to attract or coax some business that would be acceptable to you if this is SO deplorable to you??
Concerned May 10, 2011 at 07:49 PM
I'd like to know where the person that said there is no one loitering in Monroe has been looking. Friday and Saturday nights in the summer time, the Mickey D's on 111 has NOTHING but teenagers in the parking lot! The Shell on 25 has nothing but kids hanging out front. The D&D/Baskin Robbins has nothing but kids hanging out. And you can't compare the Mickey D's on 111 to a McDonalds on 25. 111 is a multiple lane road with turning lanes, 25 is a single lane road on either side that you are going to attempt to throw a fast food restaurant into. I agree that Monroe does need as much tax relief as possible but not at the expense of traffic that is already backed up on 25 at certain times of the day. Let's be realistic here!
Bob Cloutier May 10, 2011 at 08:47 PM
What else is there for the kids to do in town? Are they hurting anyone? Are they hurting you? Are they trashing your yard, your car, your land, etc. Kids have been hanging out at McD's for decades, in towns all over the country. If they are unruly, then I understand the concern. If they aren't, leave them alone. There are few alternatives in this town.
John F. May 10, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Funny, growing up in Monroe I always found plenty to do that didn't involve sitting in a parking lot all night every weekend.
DawnV May 10, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Same here... Of course there was always 'Jimmy's' and the diner though.
john roberge May 11, 2011 at 02:37 AM
can't support this young man's comment enough about the negatives of Mc D's- He is right on- just check the police blotter about the drug dealing about our other Mc D's- the only positive is that it is not with in 1500' of an elementary school!
john roberge May 11, 2011 at 02:41 AM
great bob- let them have "happy meals" ever watch 60 minutes report on Monroe's Mc donalds?
uc14 May 11, 2011 at 05:19 AM
mr. macs has a legitimate complaint. however, it's also not the place of the town to regulate the free market economy. did mr. macs not bring competition to route 25 when it opened? what this 15 year old is saying though is driving me crazy... "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." 1. enough with the damn traffic... he doesn't even live near the proposed location, or drive. honestly, there will probably be reduced traffic on town roads as all the people living in stepney and easton will just go on 25 to get there instead of through pepper and cutlers farm to get something to eat. 2. what is this, china? i don't think many people are going to go there if they aren't going to buy food. if this is a concern with loitering because of the 24/7 drive thru, last time i checked there were strict new license laws for any drivers under the age of 18 that mandate a curfew of 11pm-5am. where legal adults old enough to fight and die for this country spend their time after midnight shouldn't be the concern or jurisdiction of the town. sounds like mommy and daddy are feeding ideas if you ask me. this town is so anti-business its embarrassing. its one thing to keep the town's rustic aura... but to completely shut down any growth is fiscally irresponsible and will only result in the mill rate increasing beyond what residents can afford
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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