Will Ridge Road get a Country Max?

20 Jun

Representatives from Country Max, a Rochester-based garden supply and pet supply store, were on hand at the Webster Planning Board meeting Tuesday night to present their plans to build a store on the southwest corner of Ridge and Hatch roads.

The proposal includes constructing a 26,000-foot building with outdoor nursery, bag yard and parking lot on a 6.72-acre parcel (which is actually comprised of two lots, at 1165 Hatch and 711 Ridge). Two entrances will be included, one off of Ridge and the other off of Hatch.

The plan is already getting a lot of attention. About a dozen town residents attended the meeting to hear the proposal. Several of them were residents of the cul-de-sac on Bishops Lane; the large store will be built pretty much in their back yards.

After an engineer representing Country Max presented the plans, many of those in attendance approached the podium to ask questions and express their concerns. Among them were:

  • noise levels from equipment and trucks
  • buffer space between the houses and the store
  • increase in traffic on Ridge and Hatch roads
  • intrusive lighting
  • maintenance of the buffer zone (which will include a mowed area and retention ponds)
  • possible unsightliness from discarded pallets and heavy equipment behind the store

There was a lot of discussion especially about the amount of buffer space between the Bishops Lane homes and the store, and what Country Max was planning to do to maintain some of the wild area in the buffer zone and conceal the back of the store from the nearby homes.

One woman simply asked “Why?” Why does Country Max need to build a brand new store in Webster less than a mile from Thomas Landscaping, less than three miles from Lowe’s, and when there are already Country Max stores in Fairport and Ontario.

“What’s wrong with some green grass on Ridge Road instead of just commercial here and commercial there?” she asked. “The Town of Webster is becoming the Mall of Webster.”

Another resident added to that thought by wondering why they were constructing a new building rather than moving into the empty Kmart or Grossman’s.

The Country Max representatives did their best to answer the residents’ concerns.

In addition to a 50-foot town-owned strip of green space on the north side of the cul-de-sac, the store will have a 100-foot buffer, they said. The store is only open during the daytime hours (no later than 8 p.m.) and there won’t be any after-hours loading. Lighting will not be intrusive, they assured the residents; even the after-hour security lighting will be pointing down, and the parking lot lighting will be pointing mostly to the north.

As for concealing the store from the residents’ back yards, Country Max is already planning a stand of evergreens along some of the back lot line. Several people asked that those trees be extended along the entire lot line, a proposal which the Planning Board members seemed to think was reasonable.

With regards to traffic, Country Max will be working with both the State of New York (which is responsible for Ridge Road) and the Town of Webster (responsible for Hatch Road). They don’t expect the increase in traffic to be significant enough to warrant a traffic study.

Planning Board Chairman Anthony Casciani even said that during busy hours, the existing traffic light at Hatch Road, and the ability to exit onto Hatch Road would both help.

The representatives also address the “Why?” question.

“We’re actually returning to Webster,” he said.  “We’re happy to be back, part of the Webster community. We’ll try to be as likable as we can, promise not to close other businesses down, (to be a) friendly competitor. It’s a great community to be involved in.”

The planning board meeting marks just the beginning of what will probably be a pretty long process. According to the engineer, if and when Country Max receives approval, construction won’t begin until at least the fall.

The discussion will continue at another public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night Aug. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Town Board Room in the VanIngen Court Building, 1002 Ridge Road (that’s the one in back that used to be the library).

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