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Checking out the supermarket proposals

The Millerton News Editorial

It seems like the supermarket debate in the town of North East has gotten a little out of hand. The town’s Planning Board has been working diligently for more than a year now, quietly going about its business while reviewing an application from Southern Realty Development LLC (SRD) and all that it requires.

Now, for those unaware of what that entails, believe that it takes a lot of work and due diligence. There are zoning codes to follow, septic and water plans to consider, lot line adjustments to approve, endangered species and wetlands to protect, traffic, roadways and parking lots to consider — and that’s not even counting the building itself. There are site plans, design plans, landscaping plans, architectural renderings — again, the list could go on.

Take into mind, those who spend hours and hours poring over all of the above details volunteer to do so. Kudos to Chairman Dale Culver and Planning Board members Leslie Farhangi, Evelyn Garzetta, David Shapiro, Chip Barrett, Bill Kish and newcomer Stephen Valyou. They not only have the dedication, but the knowledge and skill to ensure projects like the one proposed by SRD are executed in such a way to enhance and better the community as a whole. In application after application the North East Planning Board has proven its worth, and it’s done so with little thanks from the public.

The fact the board was recently raked over the coals for the way it’s conducted itself during the SRD application is unfortunate (see page A1). Not only are all on the board excellent workers, their work is also exemplary. Additionally, the town also has at its aid engineer Ray Jurkowski, planner Will Agresta and Attorney to the Town Warren Replansky — all of whom are at the top of their fields.

Now, as far as brouhaha regarding the two “competing” supermarkets go — there is only one such application before the board right now. True, it has no official name (although everyone except the developer is calling it Hannaford), but the SRD application is the only formal application before the Planning Board. As far as the planning office goes, there is no Freshtown application.

There is a partial application, just to confuse matters, but that amounts to naught. The Freshtown application still awaits one very important signature, from the landlord of the supermarket it wants to take over (the Millerton Grand Union). Without that landlord’s signature the application is worthless. (For more details, turn to page A10.)

Yet residents, mostly from Amenia (where the only supermarket in town is a Freshtown), have been making the journey up to Millerton to sing Freshtown’s praises. That’s wonderful, but it’s unfortunately creating a rift in Millerton: Hannaford (?) vs. Freshtown. And at this point, the animosity is unnecessary. There is only one application, possibly for Hannaford, but certainly for a very well-organized and planned-out supermarket just east of the current Grand Union plaza that is going through the proper channels and receiving a fair and well-executed review. There is no Freshtown proposed for North East or Millerton at this point in time. Until then, let’s just stick with the facts and the application at hand.