Planning Board Turned Down Request for Field Change at CVS Work Site
July 15, 2014 The developer of CVS Pharmacy, G.B. North East 2 LLC, requested an amendment to the site plan of CVS Pharmacy renovation at the North Castle Planning Board meeting on July 14. An existing utility pole located at the Maple Avenue entrance to the Armonk Center Shopping Center was required to be moved as a condition of the plans approved by North Castle’s Planning Board. At a meeting that took place some time ago with the CVS Pharmacy applicant and Con Edison, the Director of Planning Adam Kaufman says, Con Ed gave the impression that they would relocate the utility pole; but this is not the case.
Due to the extensive amount of infrastructure on the pole, it requires an estimated $160,000 to relocate, says Kaufman.
Planning Board member Guy Mezzancello, who is an electrician, says the pole is located in a dangerous area. Kaufman says subsequent to finding out the relocation cost, there was discussion about the radius at the entry way and if it could be changed and still provide adequate emergency access. The Armonk Fire Department tested the current location of the utility pole and determined that the Fire Department’s smaller emergency vehicles were able to negotiate the turn when they entered the parking lot from Maple Avenue. But due to the narrow entranceway, the larger ladder emergency vehicles would be directed to use the entrance on Main Street. Kaufman says the Armonk Fire Department found this an acceptable option. “The Fire Department was okay if we retain it,” says Kaufman, “but ultimately this decision is up to the Planning Board.”
“What if the Main Street entrance was blocked?” asked the Town Attorney, Roland Baroni. “I’d be concerned about changing a condition that meant a piece of equipment could not gain easy access in the event of a fire.”
Since the applicant for CVS Pharmacy knew about the requirement to relocate the utility pole, the field change to keep the pole in place was not authorized by the Planning Board. The consensus among the members of the Planning Board was that in the best interest of the property owner, the developer and the public, the requested field change to keep the utility pole at its current location was not acceptable due to the potential blocking of easy access in case of an emergency.
Construction Underway but Armonk CVS Opening Date Not Yet Confirmed
December 18, 2013 Construction has begun to retrofit the former A&P building and parking area to house the new CVS Pharmacy. According to A.J. Barbato, managing developer of G.B. North East 2 LLC., the company overseeing the new store development for CVS, obtaining all the final conditions of the North Castle building permit took some time, but is now complete. North Castle's building permit was issued with a list of contingencies that included finalizing approvals from the Westchester Board of Health and the NYS Department of Transportation.
"Construction has started and after the winter we will have a better idea of when the opening date will be," Barbato said. He noted that if they encounter anything unforeseen, the opening date could be as late as next fall.
The first phase of construction involves the parking lot. The interior demolition and roof work will follow, but the progress depends upon the winter weather. Barbato said that is a lot harder to retrofit a building than to build new from the ground up because when working with an existing building there is always the unexpected.
The approved building plan includes a separate store of under 2,500-square feet operating independently from the CVS. According to Barbato, there has been some interest from users in renting the smaller storefront, but signing a deal before knowing an exact opening date is complicated. After the buildout is complete, Barbera continued, it takes three to four weeks to hire a crew and that could also affect the opening date. CVS can only open so many stores at once, but, Barbato said, they are hoping to open by June at the earliest, and by the fall at the latest.
The dismissal of Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules filed by the Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA) against the North Castle Town Board's issuance of the special-use permit for CVS is being appealed by CCA. The CCA had filed the Article 78 against the developers of CVS, the property owner-Werber Management, and the North Castle Town Board and Planning Board.
Greg Lane, speaking for the CCA, said that CCA filed the appeal in September 2013, after State District Judge Joan B. Lefkowitz dismissed the Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules.
Lane said that all briefs have been filed for the September CCA appeal. The oral arguments should be scheduled by the Supreme Court sometime after the New Year. CCA’s contention, according to Lane, is that Lefkowitz's legal decision to dismiss the case went too far. Lefkowitz held that the only people who have the opportunity to determine if CVS will affect the community character are the elected officials. Lefkowitz's judgement and the decision of the appeal, Lane said, will set a precedent for the rest of New York State.
Lane also noted that CCA filed an injunction to revoke the CVS building permit. Although the permit was not revoked, the injunction puts CVS on notice that any construction at the site is done with the risk that should CCA prevail in court, any significant building could ultimately be taken down.
In the meantime, Eden Enterprises has an empty store since it terminated the monthly lease of A&P Supermarket in February of 2012. But the other two smaller stores, Made in Asia Restaurant and Fernando’s Pizzeria, remain open for business, while the dry cleaner has relocated to Armonk Square.
State Judge Dismisses Suit Challenging CVS's Special Use Permit By Mark Weston
April 10, 2013 State District Judge Joan B. Lefkowitz has dismissed a lawsuit by Concerned Citizens of Armonk alleging that North Castle’s Planning Board and Town Board’s granting of a special use permit for a CVS pharmacy at the site of the old A&P supermarket had violated procedures required by Article 78 of New York’s Civil Practice and Rules.
In White Plains on April 4, Supreme Court 9th District Judge Lefkowitz ruled that both Concerned Citizens of Armonk and its individual members lacked the legal standing required to sue the Town of North Castle and the three businesses bringing CVS to Armonk (Eden Enterprises, Werber Management and Armonk Shopping Center, Inc.) because, Judge Lefkowitz said, Concerned Citizens and its members failed to show any injury-in-fact as opposed to potential harm, and “failed to establish that any of them would suffer harm that is different in some way from that suffered by the public at large.” “Speculative assertions of harm,” Judge Lefkowitz added, “are insufficient to confer standing.”
Concerned Citizens of Armonk had alleged that the Town Board had failed to consider the impact of a “national formula-retail outlet” on Armonk’s other businesses and on the town’s “unique small town character.” But Judge Lefkowitz said that the group “submitted no competent evidence to support their dire predictions,” and no evidence as to why a CVS outlet would cause more harm to Armonk than the A&P supermarket.
The law firm representing Concerned Citizens was Young, Sommer, Ward, Ritzenberg, Baker & Moore, of Albany. The Town of North Castle was represented by Keane & Beane of White Plains, and the three businesses were represented by DelBello, Donnellan, Weingarten, Wise & Wiederkehr, also of White Plains.
October 24, 2012 On October 22, the North Castle Planning Board unanimously gave approval to build a CVS Pharmacy on the site of the old A&P Supermarket in the Armonk Shopping Center.
The 17,389 square feet space that the A&P Supermarket occupied for nearly 50 years, closed earlier this year.
The upgrades to the building and parking lot will include exterior improvements to the building's facade and the roof line, new signage, additional landscaping with a maintenance plan, new lighting and pavement upgrades, a subdivided 2,500 square feet separate retail space, and a CVS Pharmacy drive-through window.
The resolution approved by the Planning Board said the policies for Armonk focus "on providing a well-designed, safe and efficient center which will attract more local shoppers and also aim at providing a better mix of uses in the hamlet center."
Many residents have spoken in opposition to the CVS Pharmacy in Armonk, saying that the big box store will put further pressure the smaller independent retailers on Main Street. Others residents have spoke in favor of the convenience of a box store in town. But everyone agrees that the improvements to the site will be welcomed, as the shopping center has been unappealing for nearly five decades.
A new configuration of the driveway from Maple Avenue has been worked out between the two adjacent property owners of Armonk Shopping Center and 12 Maple Avenue. "We have come to a meeting of the minds on the easement, said Al DelBello, attorney for Eden Enterprises, the owners of Armonk Shopping Center. "And we will be able to execute the easement at the appropriate time." The entrance/exit to 12 Maple Avenue from Maple Avenue will be through the curb cut from the driveway, rather than from their front parking lot, as it is now goes directly onto Maple Avenue.
The Town Planner, Adam Kaufman, said the location of the utility pole at the corner of Maple Avenue and the Maple Avenue driveway leading into the shopping center has to be relocated since the driveway will be widened and a sidewalk will be added. Kaufman said Con Edison reviewed the situation and they had not yet agreed to move the utility pole.
DelBello said he assumed Con Edison will move the pole if the applicant agreed, which they did, to pay for the relocation of the utility line.
The drive-through window and the loading dock area will be located in the back of the building. Jeff Baker, the lawyer representing the Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA), said the turning radius and traffic flow appeared to be tight. This may cause problems and Baker said the back area should be reconsidered either by eliminating the drive-through window or narrowing the building to widen the two lanes behind the building.
Paul Vitaliano, a civil engineer for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., said one lane is dedicated to the drive-through, while the second lane is a passing lane to the loading dock and the exit that is further around the back of the building. Vitaliano said a traffic study shows that there is sufficient space for trucks to pass cars that may be idling in the lane for the drive-through window.
The problem will be when an eighteen wheeler truck will need to back up into the loading dock, which can take a significant amount of maneuvering time, especially in a tight space. This could block traffic exiting from the drive-through.
There will be a new entrance from the Hergenhan Recreation Center to the Armonk Shopping Center. If this will be the only exit from the adjacent Hergenhan Recreation building, it will turn the Armonk Shopping Center parking lot into a major downtown thoroughfare. Kaufman said the traffic patterns will need to be reviewed to determine if additional stop signs or speed bumps will be necessary at the Hergenhan Recreation Center parking lot, which will become a cut-through from Maple Avenue turning north on to Main Street.
There are further steps required for CVS Pharmacy's plans to be completed. Sixteen specific conditions must be met prior to the town's authorities signing the site plan. The requirements include documents, deed restrictions, sign details, and a construction sequence to allow access during construction to the other commercial spaces that will remain open in the shopping center: Made in Asia, Fredrick's Dry Cleaning and Fernando's Pizzeria.
Prior to the issuance of a building permit, another half dozen conditions will be required, including payment of all professionals' outstanding fees, a bond or letter of credit for the construction of the sidewalk along Main Street, and a New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) permit.
The three conditions prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy are the completed construction of the Main Street improvements, completed landscaping, and the Town Building Inspector's submission of an "As Built" site plan.
There are another eleven conditions that must be signed off prior to beginning any site work, including that the hours of operation of the CVS are to be limited to 7 AM to 10 PM, and that the developer must define the disturbance-lines of construction and require inspections of weekly soil erosion and sediment control by a professional retained by the applicants.
Paul Vitaliano said he listened to the comments at the Planning Board's prior public hearing from the Concerned Citizens of Armonk, and was able to make some additional improvements.
Vitagliano briefly discussed the newly proposed storm drainage system on the property that drains into the nearby wetlands area that flows into Wampus Brook Pond. A storm water prevention plan was presented to the town on October 10. The plan includes two storm water quality units that collect sediment prior to the discharge into the wetlands, said Vitagliano. The plans for the installation of the new treatment practices for the storm water runoff must be satisfactory to the Town Engineer, Joe Cermele of Kellard Sessions.
Jeff Baker said the approval for the storm water plan should be done prior to the site approval. There should be a more thorough analysis of the storm water report because the carrying capacity of the underground storm drainage pipes may be undersized.
Joe Cermele said that from an engineering viewpoint, the state requires further review of the storm water management if the area disturbed is more than an acre. This is not the case on this project, Cermele said. The applicant is providing storm water treatment that is not required there now. Cermele said he will give the storm water management a full review before signing off on it.
Vitaliano said he spent two days working on the calculations for the storm water management and examined them as if they were required by the state.
Baker said that the water management plans presented are an improvement to what is on the site now and will probably satisfy the town.
In the meantime, Baker said the main case of the Article 78 suit filed by the Concerned Citizens of Armonk challenges the Town Board's issuance of a special use permit on July 25, 2012. Baker says so far there have been no negotiations concerning the suit. A motion to dismiss the case has been filed, and the CCA will respond to that before anyone gets to the merits of the case.
CVS Public Hearing for Site Amendments To Be Continued
Sept. 29, 2012 A public hearing was held for the resolution of the site-plan changes to the Armonk Shopping Center, which is the future home of CVS, at the North Castle Planning Board meeting on September 24.
Chairman Bob Greene called for a sense of civility and decorum and emphasized that everyone should have the opportunity to speak. "Everyone has a right to a point of view," said Greene. “The members of the community seem to be either in favor of or against the CVS,” he added.
The building that the A&P Supermarket had occupied for almost 50 years will be subdivided into the CVS Pharmacy, which will occupy 17,389-square-feet, and a subtenant, still to be determined, who would occupy the remaining 2,490-square-feet. The goal of the Planning Board's public hearing regarding CVS was to discuss the amended site improvements that include a drive-through-window operation, a new building facade and exterior parking lot upgrades.
The Town Board has already issued CVS a special-use permit. One of the conditions is that the application must receive site-plan approval by the Planning Board.
The proposed improvements to the Armonk Shopping Center parking lot include the two-entry points and an additional, third-entry point. The driveway from Maple Avenue will be widened and a sidewalk will be built by the owner at 10 Maple Avenue, the neighboring property, in exchange for a curb-cut from the Maple Avenue entrance/exit to their parking lot. The entry from Main Street will be improved with a new sidewalk and guardrail. The third entry will be an exit-only from the Hergenhan Recreation Center.
The existing parking lot of the Hergenhan Recreation Center is a one-lane, narrow entrance and exit. The recently proposed connection from the Hergenhan Center to the CVS lot will be a one-way, vehicular exit. For the outgoing traffic from behind the Recreation Center to be able to exit, drivers will have to intersect the entering traffic. The Recreation Department might want to consider having a stop sign in the parking lot for the incoming traffic at the end of the sidewalk of their building.
The exit into the CVS lot will be controlled by a stop sign, said Director of Planning Adam Kaufman.
As cars enter from the Hergenhan Center into the CVS parking-lot intersection, there will be vehicles turning left to enter the drive-through window at the back of the CVS building.
Resident Neal Baumann said that if the cut-through is built, people will use it to avoid the light at Maple Avenue, when turning north on Main Street. With kids and seniors walking in the lot from their cars to the Recreation Center, caution should be taken while driving in the parking lot.
Chairman Bob Greene said a barrier could be installed to shut down the exit if the cut-through were to become unsafe.
At a recent Town Board meeting, Councilman Steve D'Angelo questioned the safety of a drive-through in the back of the CVS Pharmacy.
During a site-plan discussion at a meeting with CVS, Bob Greene said, "I asked why there was no plan for a drive-through, since most pharmacy stores (chain and independent) include this feature. The CVS development representative said that he would ask the CVS operations department and get back to me. Next meeting -- the drive through was incorporated.
Greene added, "People using the drive-through will do so from the safety of their cars (not wandering around on foot). The area will be well lit. There will be security cameras watching. A CVS store employee will have a view out the window. One could argue that all this attention will make the rear of the center a more secure place than if the drive-through were not there."
"It's hardly out of public sight," said Greene. "There are about 20-parking spaces for employees, who will be coming and going during store hours, in the rear of the center in full view of the drive-through. All traffic coming from Hergenhan Center will be passing in full view of the drive-through. If some bad guy was bent on lurking in the shadows with an evil intent -- I think he would find himself too exposed to be comfortable in this area."
"The decision is totally up to CVS -- I don't care and the ‘Town’ does not care as far as I am aware. However, I think the feature will be a convenience and appreciated by many customers: not just moms with sick kids -- also people who don't feel well and would rather not wait in line in the store -- also an older or handicapped person who would like to avoid getting out of the car -- or people who are busy and look to save time in small ways."
In regard to the Town Board's issuance of the special-use permit, the Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA) has filed an Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules against the developers of the CVS, G.B. Northeast 2 LLC, the property owner, Werber Management, and the North Castle Town Board and Planning Board.
Greg Lane, speaking for the CCA , said there are many underlying issues that have not been addressed by the Planning Board's contingencies. Many assumptions have been made by the landlord and developer that the tenant, CVS Pharmacy, will assume the tree-removal schedule, large, delivery trucks’ schedules, and the safety issue of a drive-through at the back of the store. Any representations that have been made in the last six months have been made by the developer, GB Northeast, and the property owner, Martin Wilber, not CVS, said Lane. "GB Northeast builds it and then they leave and are not responsible for what the tenant does."
Last year, Mount Kisco's Planning Board Chairman spoke at a North Castle public meeting to warn North Castle public officials and residents that the CVS Pharmacy in Mount Kisco did none of the things that they had promised.
With only a handful of conditions put into place, Lane would like to see that representation on a CVS letterhead, which can be put in the Town's file, documenting conditions such as a schedule of the large, delivery trucks that the CVS Pharmacy controls. Lane said, "A schedule should be included in the site plan with an approval from the town, restricting [large trailer trucks’ deliveries] to certain times that won't interfere with shopping traffic."
The CVS application does not have all the approvals needed to move forward. At the public hearing, CCA made a second request for two filed documents by the applicant. Town Attorney Roland Baroni delayed the closing of the hearing to allow CCA to receive and review the documents. The public hearing will continue on October 11.
Planning Board's Public Hearing on CVS Site Postponed to Sept. 24
September 11, 2012 The CVS Pharmacy's site plan was originally scheduled for a public hearing at the North Castle Planning Board's meeting on September 10, 2012. But according to Chairman Bob Greene, who met with the CVS team, the Town Engineer and the Planning Board had a long list of tasks remaining to be done. The public hearing was postponed until the next Planning Board meeting on September 24, 2012 at 7PM. In anticipation of a large audience, the meeting will be held at the H.C. Crittenden Middle School.
The details of the site plan are complicated, says Bob Greene. Because the maintenance of the property has been neglected during the 50 years that Werber Management has owned the property, there are issues that need to be reviewed by the Town Engineers, such as the fencing along the back of the property, the easement behind the property, and the storm water management.
The Conservation Board has also said that some of the trees on the property are in poor health, although there is no detailed plan on record as to which trees will be removed and replaced.
Further legal work is needed to create a parking agreement between the Armonk Shopping Center and the neighbor to the west on Maple Avenue. The details of the curb cut there have not been completely resolved and the CVS asked for a two week postponement, said Mr. Greene.
At a recent meeting, Mr. Greene and the CVS team discussed parking, loading docks, how the drive-thru will work, and especially waste management and the appearance of the back of the center. The issues of the cut-through to the back of the Hergehan Center were resolved.
Greene said he expects that by the time they come back in two weeks, CVS should have its application finished with all the necessary documentation completed.
The Concerned Citizens of Armonk have filed a complaint under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules against the the Town of North Castle's Town Board and Planning Board, and against the developers and property owners of Armonk Shopping Center.
"Article 78 gives citizens the ability to sue the government, which is a tough thing to do," says Greene. "Under state law, that is a right that anyone has. Personally I think it is unfortunate. We have done a lot of work and I don't think the suit is an accurate portrayal of what is happening, but citizens have a right to do this."
"It will cost the town some money to defend the suit. Hopefully it won't delay the CVS application, because Mr. Werber, the property owner, told us he is planning to go forward and will deal with the suit on the side," added Bob Greene. Surprisingly, no one from CVS or Werber Management was present at the Planning Board meeting,
"Despite the Article 78 suit, there is no stay in effect," says Town Attorney Roland Baroni, "nothing to prevent a public hearing from going forward on the 24th or to prevent the Planning Board from rendering a final decision."
The town is preparing a response to the Article 78 suit, drawing on the records of the Town Board and the Planning Board meetings.
The town has won a-45-day postponement of the initial hearing on the suit to give it some time to respond. Baroni adds, "We are working on a legal brief that addresses the allegations raised in the petition."
Developer Fails To Address Stormwater Concerns at Planning Board Meeting By Greg Lane
Sept. 11, 2012 "On a high level, running the planning board like a business is a good principle. The planning board's review of the CVS application should be as efficient, accountable, and transparent as possible because the health of the Wampus River and the park, the accessibility of Hergenhan Recreation Center, and the success of Armonk Square is at stake," says Charlene Jacobi, spokesperson for Concerned Citizens of Armonk.
However, the CVS approval process has been anything but: • The Planning Board has held many of the meetings during important holidays and vacations. • The Planning Board Chairman has failed to file important planning documents as required by the Freedom of Information Law. • The CVS developer has often not followed town protocol and submitted its planning documents for public review prior to board discussions. • Many important site plan issues are still unresolved.
For example, on May 7, 2012 Westchester County Planning Board said, "CVS Site Does Not Appear To Contain Stormwater Management Infrastructure." Since then, North Castle's Conservation Commission, Sewer & Water Department, and Planning Department all expressed concerns about runoff into the Wampus River and four month's later the planning board still has not discussed the issue.
"The citizens of North Castle deserve to have a planning board willing to assess and determine the potential traffic, safety, and environmental impacts of the CVS proposal on the surrounding neighborhoods, historic district, Wampus Park and River, and downtown," says Neal Baumann, resident and member of Concerned Citizen of Armonk.
North Castle Residents Lawsuit Claims Town Board Failure To Follow The Requirements of Local Zoning Law and State Environmental Review Process By Gregory Lane
August 25, 2012 The Concerned Citizens of Armonk and its members have filed an Article 78 petition seeking to annul the CVS development approvals and remand the development back to the town to comply with the North Castle Town Zoning Law and the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
If approved, CVS will represent the first “big box” national retail chain business in Armonk and will result in the inevitable decline of the unique character of Armonk’s commercial core. CCA and its members are very disturbed to realize that apparently the majority of the Town Board and the Planning Board had no interest in taking an objective review of the potential impacts to the hamlet and seemed determined to approve the project without carefully considering the evidence.
“It is apparent that Supervisor Arden, Councilwoman Roth and Councilman Cronin had no intention of undertaking an honest appraisal of the development proposal,” said Neal Baumann, CCA member.
This case concerns procedural irregularities in the Planning Board’s and Town Board’s management of the chain store’s approval process.
In order to put the Armonk Shopping Center redevelopment proposal in proper perspective, it is necessary to consider the past actions with respect to the proposed redevelopment of this site.
Prior to the CVS special use permit, the property owner, Werber Management proposed to redevelop the A&P supermarket. Werber revised the proposal and by the latest iteration the plans would modernize a shopping center that Werber allowed to deteriorate and would have maintained a supermarket in town. While CCA was not formed at that time, many members of CCA spoke out in favor of that plan.
Nevertheless, the plan faced opposition by political forces in town, particularly those seeking to develop a grocery store in Business Park. At some point, it was made clear to Werber that opponents would not let the plan be approved and rumors of a CVS Pharmacy and green grocer began to surface.
Thereafter, with virtually no public discussion, the CVS was proposed for the site and a building permit was issued in November 2011, without a special use permit, site plan approval or even review by the Architectural Review Board. In January 2012, CCA's members on Annandale Road appealed that building permit to the Zoning Board of Appeals alleging the permit was illegally issued because it needed a special use permit and site plan approval. Shortly before the ZBA hearing, Werber Management gave up its building permit instead of defending the appeal and submitted the instant application for a CVS Pharmacy and a second retail location. Thus, it should be noted that but for the intervention of CCA members, the CVS would have been allowed to operate without any attempt to modernize or improve the derelict shopping center.
North Castle Town Zoning Law and New York Environmental Quality Review Act
This project requires approvals form both the Planning Board and the Town Board. While the Planning Board has primary jurisdiction over site specific issues as part of site plan review (scheduled for September 10), the Town Board approval was by nature broader and should have determined whether the “big box” chain retailer was consistent with the orderly development of the rest of the hamlet area.
Entitlement to a special use permit is not a matter of right; not in this case or as a matter of law. The inclusion of a special use in a zoning ordinance does not automatically entitle an applicant to a special use permit; the applicable special use standards in the zoning ordinance must always be satisfied. Wegman’s Enterprises, Inc. v. Lansing, 72, NY2d 100, 1002 .
Among special use criteria, of primary importance is 213-30(A) of the North Castle Town Zoning Law which provides that one of the criteria for approval is whether the:
The location and size of the use, the nature and intensity of the operation involved in it or conducted in connection with it, the size of the site in relation to it and the location of the site with respect to streets giving access to it are such that it will be in harmony with the appropriate and orderly development of the district in which it is located and that it complies with all special requirements for such use established in this chapter.
That language mandated that the Town Board consider the impacts a “big box” chain retailer would have on the rest of the downtown. Residents, property owners, and store owners repeatedly stressed to the Town Board, Armonk has never had such a retailer in this area and it would present a significant impact on more than a dozen locally owned downtown retailers. CCA’s attorney has also noted that given the language in the zoning law, the Town Board should have considered the detrimental impacts of this kind of retailer on the business district and its potential to change the character of the community. See, Matter of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Planning Board of the Town of North Elba.
To that end CCA and its members urged the Town Board to be Lead Agency under SEQRA so it could be assured that the broader impacts of CVS, together with other projects such as Mariani Gardens, Business Park and Methodist Church in Armonk get proper consideration. This was particularly relevant since just last year the Town commissioned a study by Frederick P. Clark Associates to review the potential threats from “big box” chain stores and to assess changes in the town’s zoning law to address those threats. That report was delivered to the Town in December and formally accepted by Supervisor Arden on January 11, 2012.
A majority of the Town Board voted to let the Planning Board act as Lead Agency during the CVS proposal New York State Environmental Review, but specifically requested that the Planning Board fully consider the potential economic and community character impacts of the proposal. Unfortunately the Planning Board failed in that responsibility.
The Planning Board issued a positive recommendation for CVS to the Town Board at its July 2nd meeting and issued the Negatively Declaration on July 23rd. That recommendation and determination were based, in large part of a traffic analysis dated March 19, 2012 by the applicant’s consultant VHB and a report on economic impacts dated June 26, 2012 also prepared by VHB.
In a July 11th letter to the Town Board and presented at the Board’s meeting that night, CCA’s attorney pointed out several glaring deficiencies in the VHB reports. The first error was the statement in the report that the former A&P contained a pharmacy and that therefore the addition of the pharmacy in the CVS would not materially affect the community. The second major error was that in assessing the economic impacts to the community, VHB drastically overstated the benefits by comparing the store to a vacant site and factoring how much of its sales would be a result of taking business away from existing stores rather then generating new sales.
Shockingly, neither the applicant nor the Planning Board addressed those blatant errors. At the Planning Board meeting on July 23rd, CCA’s lawyer attempted to submit an expert report to the Planning Board before it decided to issue a Negative Declaration under SEQRA. However, Bob Greene, the Chairman of the Planning Board refused to allow the attorney to speak at that meeting and did not consider the report before issuing the Negative Declaration. When asked about the clear error with respect to the alleged pharmacy in the A&P grocery store, Mr. Greene stated it was just a typo and not material to the report.
“In this case it was not an instance of reasonable minds disagreeing. Or even a matter of choosing amongst competing experts. In this case, a majority of the Town Board and the Planning Board failed to fulfill their legal responsibilities when evaluating the CVS special permit application,” says Jeff Baker, legal counsel for CCA.
Diane Roth’s potential conflict of interest which perpetuated the appearance of impropriety has tainted the Town Board’s review of the application.
Councilwoman Roth never denied she formally represented Werber Management, never denied that she may do so again in the future, never inquired about the relationship of her real estate firm with the applicant and affirmatively misrepresented her continued involvement in commercial real estate in the hamlet.
CVS Will Have a Devastating Impact on the Community.
Residents, shop owners, property owners, and a nationally recognized economic development expert submitted independent reports that assesses the Armonk economy and the likely impact of the CVS. In addition, they submitted critiques of the VHB report.
The comments submitted demonstrated that rather than bringing business into the area, the nature of the CVS and the Armonk market in particular mandate that most of the sales will be drawn from existing businesses. There is nothing unique about CVS that will draw in other shoppers or capture retail dollars spent by North Castle residents in other communities. The presence of 22 CVS Pharmacies in a 10 mile radius of downtown Armonk demonstrates the saturation of the market. The comments also highlight the unique character of Armonk and how important that is to the community and its sense of place and as a unique dining and shopping experience. However, small locally owned stores operate on a thin profit margin and will be significantly impacted by a CVS that sells hardware, gifts, groceries, lottery tickets, electronics, greeting cards, etc.. CCA’s economic development expert notes that even minor losses can spell the end of locally owned businesses.
The inevitable result is the failure of businesses and the proliferation of empty storefronts permanently altering the character of the community. Once those stores can no longer compete, the only available tenant will be other “big box” chain retail stores and once those become the primary commercial presence, the uniqueness of Armonk will be permanently lost.
“There is no question that the proposed CVS will have a lasting impact on the economic viability of a significant portion of the retail market within the hamlet, in turn, is likely to have a negative impact on the character of the community as it loses some of its locally owned businesses and increases vacancy rates. The CVS represents the first significant in-road of a national retail chain that is likely to irreversibly alter Armonk’s unique character,” reported Kennedy Smith, a principal with the Community Land-Use and Economics Group.
“In spite of its proximity to larger cities (White Plains, Mt. Kisco, Stamford) Armonk has a distinctly “off the beaten path” ambiance. And, perhaps more than any other place in the community, Armonk’s downtown physically embodies the community’s distinctive personality,” says Concerned Citizens of Armonk spokesperson Barbara DiGiacinto.
“Uniqueness, is one of the forces that creates economic value. Products in short supply are likely to be more valuable than commonplace products. Similarly, Armonk can capitalize the intrinsic uniqueness of our traditional main street, adjoining historic district, neighborhoods and park to produce long-term economic value,” says Charlene Jacobi, President of CCA.
CCA File Article 78 Petition
The Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA) have filed an Article 78 of the Civil Practice Laws and Rules ("CPLR) against North Castle's Town Board, Planning Board, G.B. Northeast 2 LLC, who are the developers of the CVS Pharmacy, and Werber Management, who the own the Armonk Shopping Center. Link to the Notice of Petition
The petition requests to annul and set aside the resolution of the Town Board that approved the special use permit issued on July 25, 2012 to G.B. Northeast 2, LLC to locate a CVS Pharmacy in Armonk's Central Business District on Main Street.
The petition also requests to annul and set aside the Planning Board's resolution containing a Negative Declaration that determined the CVS Pharmacy will have no significant effect on the environment under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
Lastly, the petition requests that Town Board Member Diane DiDonato-Roth be prohibited to participate in any further review of any applications related to the Armonk Shopping Center. The CCA have presented at pubic Town Board meetings that there is an impermissible conflict of interest from when Ms. DiDonato-Roth represented Werber Management during a past commercial real estate transaction in Armonk .
August 1, 2012 AJ Barbera is the managing developer of G.B. North East 2 LLC., the company which oversees new store development for CVS/Pharmacy. Mr. Barbera manages the store's applications and construction. He said, "I'm appreciative of the Town Board's time spent on the proposal and their vote for the special use permit."
Eden Enterprises owns the future home of CVS/Pharmacy at the Armonk Shopping Center. Both companies have been accommodating to the Planning Board, as it applies to their request to land bank 25 parking spaces. "The plan for the entire center is modified (and if spaces are land banked they would be preserved, i.e. not built on) based on our approvals and that is what we would be doing construction on. The tenant (CVS/Pharmacy) and owner (Eden Enterprises) are jointly going to be handling the construction, since a good deal of it involves space that CVS/Pharmacy has nothing to do with," said Mr. Barbera.
Mr. Barbera explained that there will be 135-parking spots remaining in the lot and land banking parking spots provides better circulation and utilization. When the A&P Supermarket had been open at that location, the parking lot had never been full.
The land-banked parking spots will allow more landscaping to be placed in the front parking lot and an easier turning radius at several corners. Seventeen of the parking spaces in the back of the store and around the drive-through window will also be land banked.
Planning Board Chairman Bob Greene said, "When we were discussing site-plan changes early on, I suggested to the CVS developer that it appeared to me that a drive-through would work on the site and that now would be the time to add the feature, if it was desired by CVS. They subsequently added the drive-through to the site plan. I assumed that happened because it's a value to CVS. There is no requirement that it be there, and if they ultimately decide to eliminate the feature, so be it.”
“Personally, I think it’s a nice feature and a convenience, but it’s totally up to CVS,” added Mr. Greene.
Mr. Barbera said that CVS/Pharmacy was happy to accommodate the request from the Planning Board for parking-lot access as an egress from the Hergenhan Recreation Center. This will be a one-way access from the Hergenhan Center to the parking lot at the Armonk Shopping Center. It should benefit the tenants of the shopping center, since the traffic flow will be directed to their stores.
"The CVS access is a one-way exit from the recreation center," said Director of Planning Adam Kaufman.
"The connection will provide a much-safer circulation pattern at the recreation center since now the recreation center's Maple Avenue driveway will be one-way in (as two vehicles cannot traverse the drive at the same time). In addition, by having more vehicular access points, vehicles have the option of utilizing either the Maple Avenue drive or the Main Street drive. The more distributed the network, the better the operation of the intersections."
The entrance to Armonk Square will be catty-corner to the Maple Avenue access driveway of CVS/Pharmacy. The additional traffic from the DeCicco's Supermarket at Armonk Square and CVS/Pharmacy will also generate more traffic on Maple Avenue.
Details for plans calling for a curb cut between the property at 12 Maple Avenue and the Armonk Shopping Center are currently under discussion between the attorneys who represent Eden Enterprises and the attorneys who represent the owner of the now-closed, Sotheby's' office building at 12 Maple Avenue. (The Sotheby's real estate office has been for sale for several years).
Mr. Barbera said they haven't seen any drawings yet, but added that they will allow access to accommodate the curb cut near the entrance of Maple Avenue. The fewer exits and entrances provided to businesses located on Maple Avenue, the better the traffic flow. Details between the two parties will be worked out, as a more-detailed review of a connection between the two parking lots is necessary.
Considering all the development taking place on Maple Avenue, perhaps the town planners would attempt to persuade property owners to extend the pavers on the sidewalk of Maple Avenue from Armonk Square to Main Street, and on Main Street from the corner of Maple Avenue to the Armonk Shopping Center's entrance on Main Street.
The next step for the CVS/Pharmacy will be a site approval by a Public Hearing; this should be discussed at the next meeting of the Planning Board on August 6, 2012.
CVS Public Hearing Coverage
July 30, 2012 The Armonk CVS Pharmacy’s application for a special use permit was presented to the North Castle Town Board by a team of lawyers, developers, architects and researchers representing the CVS Pharmacy, as well as the property owner Eden Enterprises. Eden Enterprises is owned by Werber Management.
Questions were asked and comments were made by residents and legal representation during two and a half hours of testimony at the public hearing on July 25, 2012. Most residents who spoke were opposed to opening a CVS Pharmacy in downtown Armonk. Many residents expressed their concerns about the ways in which a big box store would affect the character of Armonk and open the door for future big box stores.
Town Board Members John Cronin and Diane DiDinoto-Roth said that the Town Board was advised by North Castle Attorney Roland Baroni that they could be sued by CVS Pharmacy, if the CVS in Armonk was denied a special use permit. Taking into account the sentiment from a majority of residents who spoke in opposition to CVS with the possibility of a lawsuit by CVS, the Town Board ultimately decided by a three to two vote to issue a special permit.
Watch the highlights from the CVS Public Hearing for a special use permit at the Town Board's meeting on July 25, 2012.
Town Board Issues Special Permit to CVS
July 27, 2012 The proposed CVS Pharmacy exceeds 5,000-square feet of retail use, and accordingly, necessitated a review of the application by the North Castle Town Board before a special use permit was issued.
The process included a report commissioned by the town, which was performed by VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture, P.C. The study concluded that "the introduction of the CVS store at the existing developed 450 Main Street site would not create a significant adverse impact to the overall community character of the hamlet."
As lead agency, the Planning Board completed the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) and recommended that the Town Board proceed with the public hearing for the CVS Pharmacy application.
The public outcry against CVS on Wednesday night at the Town Board's public hearing seemed to have fallen on a majority of deaf ears as three out of five Town Board members voted to pass the resolution to issue a special use permit to CVS.
Supervisor Howard Arden said it is important to recognize that people of good will can have differences of opinions. "In my opinion, the applicant has met all the criteria of a redevelopment of an existing space that is not significantly different from the use before.
“There is a great wealth of business available to us from the employees of the town's three large corporations from IBM, Swiss Re and MBIA, if we were to generate the right thing in town," said Mr. Arden.
“I see our town not just as a pie that we are slicing up the pieces smaller and smaller. But we need to expand that pie so everyone prospers, and if we don't do that, we are doomed no matter what we do. CVS is not going to be the death of everybody. We need to grow the town and show what a great town it is.
“The real fight for this ended a year ago, before I was here, and we have no legal grounds to deny this application."
Councilman John Cronin agreed with Supervisor Arden and said that when the previous Town Board mishandled the A&P Supermarket redevelopment, it opened the doors for this to happen. "One of our roles on this board is to protect the town from legal jeopardy," said Mr. Cronin. “The town's attorney has cautioned us that we cannot legally deny CVS a special use permit, and that is my position.”
Councilman Steve D'Angelo said most stores in downtown Armonk close by 8 p.m., 9:00 p.m. at the latest, and he was concerned about CVS's hours of operation. He added that there was a potential safety issue with the drive-thru window located in an isolated area at the back of the store.
AJ Barbato, representing CVS, said his client would be satisfied with the store hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. He added that the drive-thru window would be open during the same hours of the pharmacy, which might be fewer hours than when the store is open.
Councilman Diane DiDinato-Roth said CVS has signed a lease and could have decided to move in without doing anything to the building. "We said CVS is here and we wanted it to look a little nicer. That's all we are here for tonight, to improve the new facade, not to approve the use of the project."
Attorney Jeff Baker, representing Concerned Citizens of Armonk, asked if Councilman DiDinato-Roth, as a commercial realtor representing Werber Management (the shopping center's ownership is now under Eden Enterprises, a new name, but the same owners), would recuse herself from the vote.
Town Attorney Roland Baroni said Diane DiDinato-Roth's position as a commercial realtor representing Werber Management's property was an issue from the past; therefore, it did not present a conflict of interest with regard to her vote on the special use permit.
Councilman Michael Schiliro said the CVS Pharmacy is an acceptable use that requires a special use permit. The most important task is conducting the analysis and making the decision as to whether or not it fits. He said the most difficult part of the application, for him, was the location, size and hours of the applicant's operation, which should be in harmony with the district it is located in. "That does not fit for me, the other criteria fit, that one does not fit, which would preclude me from supporting this application," said Mr. Schiliro. He added, in the spirit of the Town's master comprehensive plan, that it does not include one store that offers all of the services of a hardware store, convenience store, drug store and a service station, as CVS does. "The document says the goal is to attract small-scale, pedestrian-oriented retail activities, and that should be Main Street's focus."
Mr. Arden asked for a motion to approve the resolution for a special use permit to establish a CVS Pharmacy in Armonk, with an amendment to restrict the hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.
Arden, DiDinoto-Roth and Cronin voted in favor of the applicant, while Schiliro and D'Angelo voted against the application for a special use permit for CVS.
Excluding our banks, gas stations, a moving company and a supermarket, the CVS Pharmacy will be the first big-box retail chain operating in Armonk.
The DeCicco's Family Market at Armonk Square and the CVS Pharmacy are expected to open in town at about the same time, during spring of 2013. Clearly, they will have some impact on Main Street's existing businesses.
One of the conditions of the resolution is that the Planning Board review the proposed site plan. The applicant has proposed significant improvements to retrofit the building's architecture, the parking lot and the shopping center's traffic flow.
Part 1 of two-part coverage of the CVS Public Hearing.
Citizens Outraged at Actions of Planning Board Chairman
July 25, 2012 North Castle Planning Board Chairman Bob Greene said he had reviewed the report by VHB that analyzed the potential impact of a CVS on Armonk's economic vitality. He said, "It was well done, very complete, and I do not have questions about it. It absolutely supports our decision to adopt a negative declaration, if no one has any questions."
Attorney Mark Miller of Veneziano Associates, representing his client at 12 Maple Avenue, said that the previous CVS plans showed a curb cut into the 12 Maple Avenue property from the CVS shopping center's entrance driveway on Maple Avenue. The curb cut will be subject to future negotiations concerning an easement between the CVS Pharmacy’s property owners, Werber Management, and the owners of 12 Maple Avenue.
Mr. Greene said, "The town has no control over an agreement between two private property owners that share a property line. We have a handshake agreement between the two parties over the curb cut. The easement will improve the circulation at the intersection of Maple Avenue." Mr. Greene added that as part of the cooperation demonstrated by putting the site plan together, Werber Management, owner of Armonk Shopping Center, has agreed in principle that they will permit the easement.
"Any other questions?" asked Bob Greene. Jeff Baker, the attorney representing the Concerned Citizens of Armonk, immediately raised his hand.
Chairman Greene said, "I'll tell you what, we are not going to do it, we will have a public hearing very quickly."
"We like to hear from residents and there is a resident here, " said Bob Greene, referring to Charlene Jacobi, President of Concerned Citizens, a 15-year-long resident of Armonk and owner of Town Center Pharmacy in Armonk.
Mr. Greene would not permit Mr. Baker to speak and when Mr. Baker asked, "Why did you let Mr. Miller, who is an attorney and not a resident, speak?” Chairman Greene answered, "You will have plenty of time to speak at a public hearing.” He added that Mr. Baker should hold his question for the public hearing and he would answer at that time why Mr. Baker was not allowed to speak at the planning board meeting.
Ms. Jacobi asked Town Attorney Roland Baroni why Mark Miller, who is not a resident of Armonk, was allowed to speak. It is unfair not to allow the group’s attorney to speak, said Ms. Jacobi. Mr. Baroni said he was not running the meeting and it was the chairman's protocol that counts in this instance.
Lifelong resident and commercial property owner Barbara DiGicinto said, "When Planning Board Chairman Bob Greene refused to allow Jeff Baker, attorney representing Concerned Citizens, to speak during the CVS discussion because he was not a resident, I was not the only person in the audience who was shocked."
The Planning Board was making its decision regarding the recommendation of a special permit for CVS to the Town Board, based on the VHB report. Chairman Bob Greene has allowed residents and their representatives to speak briefly at the Planning Board meetings, provided they don't repeat information already presented.
The VHB report indicates that the A&P had a pharmacy. It is erroneous and there are mistakes in it, said Charlene Jacobi. "How can you make a decision tonight when the report said the A&P had a pharmacy?"
David Smith of VHB Engineering, who wrote the report, said the information was taken from a report done by BFJ on behalf of the town. The BFJ report was flawed because it reported a pharmacy in the A&P Supermarket in Armonk.
Mr. Smith said that included in the VHB report was the overall economics of the buying and spending power in the hamlet to purchase goods and services, from residents, as well as customers in the surrounding areas. Based on the analysis prepared, there is no significant adverse impact of having a CVS located in Armonk, according to the author of the report.
If the analysis is based on flawed information from the BFJ report, it could be concluded that the VHB analysis is flawed as well.
But Mr. Greene said, "The error or typo or whatever it was is not something that would alter the decision."
The report said there was a pharmacy there and to replace it by saying it is a typo is absurd, added Ms. Jacobi.
"It was shocking and outrageous that the Planning Board Chairman's explanation that ‘it must have been a typo’ after Town Center Pharmacy owner Charlene Jacobi pointed out that the VHB Study (a document that basically concluded a CVS in town would be a positive addition) stated the former A&P had a pharmacy and it co-existed with the independently owned pharmacy in town," said Barbara DiGicinto.
Jeff Baker said, "'I was shocked that Chairman Greene wouldn't allow me to speak on behalf of the Concerned Citizens of Armonk when he lets other attorneys, who represent clients on other issues in front of the Planning Board, speak. We presented a letter that there were fundamental inaccuracies in the documents that they were relying on. They were aware of them and hadn't addressed them. And we submitted expert reports that demonstrated there will be a significant adverse impact on the environment. Obviously, Mr. Greene is not interested in reading those, nor was he interested in taking public comments. He forwarded the project as he expected to."
The Planning Board concluded the SEQR process and approved the Negative Declaration. The Town Board will review the special permit resolution when they discuss its impacts at the public hearing during the meeting tonight, July 25, 2012.
If approved, the CVS will be back to the Planning Board for a site plan review and approval.
Public Hearing Set for CVS in Armonk
July 16, 2012 CVS plans to improve the building for their future home at the Armonk Shopping Center; the A&P supermarket had been located there for 50 years. A.J. Barbato, representing CVS's development firm, said the construction should take about four months. After construction, there will be a five-month orientation and it should take between seven and nine months to finish the project, with a goal of completion by spring of 2013.
If approved, there would be a new facade on the front of the building, which would have three- smaller stores along the north side: Fernando's Pizzeria, Made in Asia Restaurant and a new green grocer. The south side of the building facing Maple Avenue will accommodate a drive-thru pharmacy service, and will also provide access through the parking lot to the Hergenhan Recreation Center. The shopping center's parking lot would be completely renovated.
Jeff Baker, the attorney representing the Concerned Citizens of Armonk, had a request at the July 11 Town Board meeting: he would like to express his legal opinion before the Town Board votes to set a public hearing for CVS’s application for a special use permit on July 25, 2012.
When Supervisor Howard Arden referred to Town Attorney Roland Baroni, Mr. Baroni said, "I'm curious."
Mr. Baker said the Town Board cannot hold a public hearing on this application until the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) has been completed by the Planning Board. The SEQR will review all aspects of the project, including socioeconomic effects. CVS will be on the agenda of the Planning Board's meeting on July 24.
Baker said there is no way of legally knowing that the Planning Board will make a declaration at that time. If they don't, you have to cancel the public hearing, which puts pressure on the public and possible witnesses who will have to scramble at the last minute. “That is not sound policy,” Baker added.
"In order for a lead agency to issue a negative declaration," the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website says "it must be able to demonstrate that the action will not have a significant, adverse environmental impact. In making decisions on significance, the lead agency must take a hard look at all relevant impacts of the whole action, not just those within its immediate jurisdiction, and document its reasoning in writing."
"There is nothing in the law that precludes the Town Board from setting and opening a public hearing," said Roland Baroni. But Mr. Baroni also said that if the Town Board doesn’t receive a SEQR determination from the Planning Board prior to the public hearing, they will not be able to vote on the application; they will also have to keep the public hearing open (until the SEQR determination has been completed by the Planning Board), as they have done with many other applications in the past.
Although Mr. Baker said at the July 11 Town Board meeting that he had not fully reviewed the submitted plans from the CVS, he also pointed out that there are at least two errors in their analysis. Firstly, the analysis incorrectly stated that the A&P supermarket included a pharmacy, and therefore, CVS would not have the same effect on existing businesses like the A&P, explained Mr. Baker. The second analysis flaw, said Mr. Baker, was that the traffic study was performed when the A&P was closed, and therefore, an accurate comparison could not be made. Mr. Baker also asked Councilman Diane DiDonato-Roth, who is a real estate agent, to recuse herself from participating in the CVS project; it could represent a conflict of interest since she has represented Werber Management, owner of the CVS building, on previous property leasing negotiations in North Castle.
Supervisor Howard Arden said we don't have to accept the recommendation of recusal.
"Since Councilwoman Roth just voted," said Mr. Baroni, "she gave you the answer at least for setting the date for the public hearing; she is not recusing herself."
Supervisor Howard Arden, Councilmen DiDonato-Roth and John Cronin were in favor of setting a public hearing; on the other hand, Councilman Michael Schiliro wanted to wait for the SEQR to be completed and voted no, as did Councilman Steve D'Angelo.
April 9, 2012 North Castle's Planning Board CVS Discussion
CVS Application Reviewed by Planning Board
April 10, 2012 After the North Castle's Planning Board meeting of the CVS Pharmacy discussion on April 9, 2012, allaboutarmonk.com spoke with several people that have been involved in the discussions.
Al DelBello is the attorney representing applicant CVS, which was referred to as CB North East 11 LLC; he is also representing the landowner, Martin Werber. The architectural plans, which call for replacing the A&P with a 17,389 square-foot CVS store and a separate store rental which would be 2,497 square feet, were presented at the meeting. The three smaller stores in the Armonk Center will remain the same, with an improvement to the entire facade.
Jeff Baker, an attorney representing Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA), said, "We will be involved every step of the way with concerns of how this process is going."
Baker requested an extension of the minimum of 30 days for a recommendation from the Planning Board to the Town Board to schedule a public hearing on the applicant's special use permit. The extension allows everyone to have the time to review the process. DelBello agreed to a thirty-day extension. But Baker stressed that the timing is dependent on what CVS chooses to do, and that the town should take the time to do the right thing.
According to Baker, the most important issue that the planning board must address is the change in use. He said they did not discuss the issues that are relevant to the special use permit at tonight’s meeting. How is this change of use (from an A&P Supermarket to a CVS Pharmacy) going to impact the rest of the hamlet, asked Baker?
Baker added that they limited themselves to the site plan issues at the meeting. "The special use permit has some broader issues that they did not address at all, but I think they will, in subsequent meetings."
Baker said the comments made by the Planning Board’s members concerning the improvement to the site were genuine. "But the fact is," said Baker, "that CVS Pharmacy was approved by Director of Planning Adam Kaufman, and the town had allowed a building permit to go through for this project without any site plan review and without giving any opportunity to upgrade the shopping center, which, by the way, has been here for about 45 years, since 1968."
If it weren't for CCA's challenge to the North Castle Zoning Board of Appeals, said Baker, when they realized that they were at risk of losing the appeal, they would not have presented a plan to upgrade the façade and redo the parking lot, some basic renovations which should have been done 20 years ago.
They are bringing in a “national category killer store” into a town that has never had one before, said Baker. He explained that the category killer term in retail is a national chain pharmacy with cards, gifts, groceries, and a substantial range of the market share offered at less expensive prices, which smaller stores can't compete with.
Furthermore, Baker said that the term commonly gets confused with the concept of a big box store, which is a large retailer that basically takes all of the market place out of a particular category of retail uses, such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart or Staples. It is not only the physical size, but it also markets to a larger area; as a result, it is virtually impossible for independent stores to compete with their market share size, since the big box stores can buy items at a lower cost.
Charlene Jacobi is co-owner of Town Center Pharmacy and president of CCA. How is the CVS going to affect all the little stores, up and down Main Street, she asks? “It’s not only me. They have dry goods, soda, and frozen food. It's a photo store, a pet store, and a hardware store. It has many uses.”
Al DeBello said the CVS will offer a drive-thru pharmacy. But what CVS won't have is the same service that Main Street's independent stores offer.
"When a mother calls us from the parking lot and says my child is sick, we walk out to the parking lot," said Jacobi. Town Center Pharmacy also offers pick-up and delivery service to its customers.
A.J. Barbato, representing CVS's development firm, said the store hours are planned for 7 a.m. - midnight, seven days a week. But the hours will depend on customer use. Greene requested a survey indicating the hours of neighboring CVS Pharmacies.
Dale Hisiger, one of the founders of CCA, said she is concerned about the late night traffic that a CVS will draw: It will be different shoppers than late-night shoppers at a supermarket. She is also concerned about having a CVS with a drive-thru. It becomes a destination for surrounding communities to come here for the CVS, and that is probably not the type of destination we want in Armonk.
Planning Board Chairman Bob Greene said he would welcome the public’s comments during the upcoming meeting. But he asks that speakers be brief and not repetitive. He said that comments help the applicant understand what town members want and that allowing people to speak seems like the right thing to do.
Greene said he does not want to unnecessarily delay the applicant, but wants to get input from the Architectural Review Board and focus on improvements at the Maple Avenue entry.
DelBello said the property owners are willing to discuss improvements to the Maple Avenue entrance and will do what they can to please the town.
March 14, 2012 CVS has not yet submitted an application for site-plan approval for its new location on Main Street in Armonk. However, at the recent planning board meeting, Chairman Bob Greene reviewed the discussion he had with CVS representatives, property owners Werber Management, Director of North Castle Planning Adam Kaufman and Supervisor Howard Arden. Greene said CVS does not need the entire space previously occupied by the A&P Supermarket. Therefore, they would like to sublet 2,500 square feet of space next to Made in Asia Restaurant to a sub-tenant. Werber's lawyer, Al DelBello, has said in the past that CVS would sublet the space to a green grocer.
At the planning board meeting, Greene said they also discussed several improvements to the site that would help revitalize the shopping center. The improvements included renovations to the sidewalk on Main Street and replacing the guardrail. Greene's preference is for CVS to use a "countrified" low sign, rather than the larger, typical sign. Werber Management has agreed to redesign the entire storefront’s facade, including the three, smaller stores: Fernando’s Pizza, Made in Asia Restaurant and the dry cleaners. Greene feels that the design of the new CVS storefront in Bedford Hills is attractive, with its use of residential materials, specifically, shingles and stones. Also discussed was the repaving and re-striping of the entire parking area; and the addition of landscaping and trees in the parking lot. Greene said they intend to land-bank a few parking spaces as they have the required five spaces for every thousand-square-feet of retail space. Planning Board member Art Adelman asked if the town could insure that the CVS parking lot be properly maintained. Given the lack of maintenance with the existing A&P parking lot, this would be a welcome change.
CVS’s parking lot backs up to Hergenhan Recreation Center’s parking lot. The access driveway to the Recreation Center is wide enough for only one car. Greene presented a curb-cut between the parking lots of Hergenhan Center and CVS. The curb-cut would allow a one-way entry into the Hergenhan Center and an exit through CVS’s parking lot. Given the anticipated traffic on Maple Avenue with the arrival of Armonk Square, the proposed plan would help reduce traffic congestion.
Greene would also like to see the entrance on Maple Avenue widened with a sidewalk to make it more pedestrian-friendly. A curb-cut from the driveway to the property on the west side of the driveway would allow the adjacent property owner to have parking in front of the store. Kaufman said the long-term goal is to enable all of the properties along the access driveway to pull out into the driveway rather than directly onto Maple Avenue.
The Werbers are reluctant to allow the curb-cut and easement, due to perceived liability. Greene said the town’s engineer, John Kellard, will draw up plans for the improvement to the driveway from Maple Avenue; his goal is to make it safer by adding land from the adjacent parcel on Maple Avenue to gain the additional width. Greene said the property owner is interested in entering an agreement because it will make it easier to redevelop his property. A reciprocal easement agreement will have to be executed, one similar to the agreement between Armonk Square and Developer Michael Fareri, with respect to his property at 37 Maple Avenue.
Further consideration should be given as to whether or not the cut-thru from the Hergenhan Center should be two-way. Another consideration is if Maple Avenue were to become one-way, driving from Bedford Road to Main Street, this may prevent traffic congestion at the busy intersection of Maple, Main and Whippoorwill Road East. Since Main Street is owned by the state, it is most likely that nothing would be done until after there was a traffic study when Armonk Square is fully operational. Still, it should be noted that Katonah has a one-way entrance to part of its downtown retail shops, and the traffic flow appears to be well managed.
Armonk Citizens' Motion To Be Adjourned by ZBA
February 29, 2012 Alfred B. DelBello, special counsel to Eden Enterprises LLC (owners of 450 Main Street), wrote a letter dated February 28, 2012 to Chairman Monticelli and members of the North Castle Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The letter asks that the ZBA delay its review of the motion filed by the Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA). The motion pertains to the building permit issued to Eden Enterprises (Eden) for the future home of CVS Pharmacy at 450 Main Street in Armonk.
Eden will renovate the building that CVS expects to occupy in October 2012. DelBello said proposed changes to the existing building and parking lot require approval of a new site plan; he claims that this approval requirement is unrelated to the motion filed by CCA. There are several proposed improvements: a 2,500-square-foot retail space with a separate entrance, parking lot enhancements with landscaping, curbing, lighting, a new store frontage, and signage.
"The town requested Eden to put something in writing and that triggered the letter from DelBello", said Supervisor Howard Arden.
A memo to the community from the Zoning Board of Appeals states that "the new plans will necessitate a full review by various town agencies, including the Town Board, Planning Board and Architectural Review Board."
"We are pleased that Werber Management agreed to abide by the Town's zoning laws and will resubmit the CVS proposal to the Architectural Review Board, Planning Board and Town Board for review, before such a major new use is established in the Town," said Charlene Jacobi, President of Concerned Citizens of Armonk.
North Castle Supervisor Howard Arden said Eden agreed to a review of the new plans, specifically, a store front of 2,500 square feet of the building and renovations to the parking lot. The application will go through the proper sequence, which will include a site plan approval.
Arden explained that prior to his election to office this year, the original CVS proposal asked that a section of the CVS Pharmacy be used as a green grocer, with a separate entrance; in addition, Arden said the proposal has been in the works since June 24, 2011. CVS Pharmacy signed a lease with Eden in April 2011. "We have to play the hand that we are dealt," added Arden.
The zoning law mandates that a special use permit be issued by the Town Board for any retail space in excess of 5,000 square feet. However, this was not required of CVS because the building, owned by Werber Management at the time and subsequently transferred to Eden Enterprises, preceded the zoning requirement change.
The Zoning Board of Appeals will open the public hearing on the CCA-filed appeal at its meeting on March 1, 2012, and immediately adjourn it to their April 12, 2012 meeting. They have stated they do not intend to hear any presentations on the topic, as "the questions presented on the appeal will likely be rendered moot." The March 1 meeting will be held at Town Hall.
Arden said the new CVS will present competition to Town Center Pharmacy. However, the Town Center Pharmacy opened in November 1998, when Armonk Pharmacy was located on the corner of Bedford Road and Main Street. They have subsequently gone out of business.
Editor's note: DelBello wrote Concerned Citizens of Armonk vs. Cromwell and Eden Enterprises in his letter dated February 28, 2012. Cromwell is a North Castle Assistant Building Inspector, who was named in the CCA’s appeal mistakenly. The name was amended to Bill Richardson, the inspector who issued the building permit to 450 Main Street in November 2011.
Zoning Board of Appeals to Review Citizens’ Concerns about CVS
February 27, 2012 The challenge to CVS's building permit by Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA) has been added to North Castle's Zoning Board of Appeals’ (ZBA) agenda for the upcoming meeting to be held on March 1, 2012.
The meeting will take place at 8:00 p.m. at Hergenhan Recreation Center, located at 40 Maple Avenue in Armonk.
The ZBA will review the motion filed by the CCA to appeal the decision by Bill Richardson, North Castle's Building Inspector, who issued a building permit to CVS Pharmacy, dated November 22, 2011. CCA has also filed a motion against Eden Enterprises, the owner of the building located at 450 Main Street in Armonk.
Greg Lane, a partner of Calvert Street Group representing CCA, said, "Supervisor Arden is misleading residents about the CVS Pharmacy project. Claims by Supervisor Arden that CVS Pharmacy received a building permit with Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals approvals are either deliberately false or misleading, and raise concerns that he doesn’t understand zoning issues."
“It is irresponsible for Mr. Arden to make such misleading statements,” said Charlene Jacobi, president of CCA.
Lane filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIL) with the town on December 23, 2011, requesting all records and correspondence between the Town Board, the Planning Department, the Building Department and CVS and Werber Management. "There were no records of approval for a building permit from the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals," said Lane.
Werber Manangement transferred ownership of the Armonk Shopping Center to Eden Enterprises, LLC when they petitioned the Town Board to redevelop the building as a larger A&P Supermarket. Eden Enterprises' application was withdrawn in June 2010 and they signed a lease with CVS Pharmacy in April 2011. The A&P closed earlier this month.
Alfred DelBello, a partner of DelBello, Donnellan, Weingarten, Wise & Wiederkehr representing Eden, stated in a letter dated June 6, 2011 and addressed to North Castle's Town Board that Eden's alternative permitted uses for Armonk Shopping Center--like CVS--only require an ordinary building permit and do not require additional discretionary approvals from the Town.
Lane explained that CCA filed its motion for an appeal because the building permit for CVS Pharmacy had been issued in violation of the Town’s zoning law and did not allow an opportunity for public review and comment. The group has made it clear to the Town from the start that it would withdraw its motion-- and this offer still stands-- if Eden Enterpirses submitted its CVS Pharmacy plans to the Architectural Review Board, the Planning Board, and the Town Board.
“How Supervisor Arden came up with the understanding that the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals reviewed the CVS Pharmacy proposal is a mystery. Had the CVS project been subject to the appropriate reviews, there would have been an opportunity for my client and the public to participate and to request a variety of improvements to the property that would enhance the environment and character of Armonk. A full review would also allow consideration as to whether a big-box national retailer is appropriate for the hamlet,” explained attorney Jeff Baker, an attorney with the firm Young, Sommer.
Supervisor Arden did not respond to our email or phone call in regard to the matter, prior to this publication.
DelBello advised the Town Board "that our clients will take all steps necessary to protect their property and civil rights, and hope for the benefit of all concerned that such actions will not be made necessary."
Zoning Board Will Review Citizens' Appeal of Building Permit for CVS Feb. 2, 2012
The Concerned Citizens of Armonk (CCA) has filed an appeal of the decision against Bill Richardson, in his capacity as North Castle's Building Inspector. Richardson issued a building permit to the CVS Pharmacy, dated November 22, 2011. An appeal has also been filed against Eden Enterprises, the owner of the building at 450 Main Street in Armonk.
The A&P Supermarket that currently occupies the building is planning to close its store by February 15, 2012. A spokesman for CVS Pharmacy told us that the projected time frame for CVS to move into the Armonk Shopping Center is October 2012.
The CCA is made up of a broad group of Armonk residents, and Main Street business and property owners. Charlene Jacobi is President of the CCA and the co-owner of Town Center Pharmacy. She has expressed concerns about CVS, but is usually perceived as someone with a conflict of interest because her business could potentially suffer when CVS opens in Armonk.
Greg Lane specializes in land-use policies and has been working with the CCA. He said they have submitted an anti-CVS petition signed by 2,000 members of the community, including property owners, residents and business owners.
Lane explained, "You can't restrict a particular business. You can't tell CVS that they are not allowed to come to town. You can tell chain stores they can't come to town because they will possibly impact the character of the community."
The CCA Appeal claims that the group's purpose includes "protecting the character and economic viability of existing business contours in and around the hamlet of Armonk."
Jeffrey Baker is the attorney acting on behalf of the CCA. The appeal claims that before the building permit was issued, CVS failed to obtain a special use permit from the North Castle Town Board. "The new use and altered structure have been approved without determination that the use meets the criteria of the zoning code; also, the exterior alterations are inconsistent with the requirements of North Castle's town code."
Furthermore, the appeal states that CVS did not obtain an “approval for site development plan” from the Town's Planning Board. It also claims that the building permit is invalid because the applicant did not obtain approval first from North Castle's Architectural Review Board (ARB). All exterior alterations or renovation projects of commercial buildings are subject to the review and approval of the ARB.
The appeal requests that the building permit be annulled and that the CVS Pharmacy be directed to proceed through the following town codes:
1. The applicant obtains a special use permit from the Town Board for change of use.
2. If it is determined that a special use permit is not required, then they should obtain an approval of a site plan from the Planning Board.
3. If it is determined that a special use permit and a site plan approval are not required, then they must request a review by the ARB, whose charge is to determine if a renovation project complies "with certain aesthetic and visual standards before a building permit is issued."
The town code requires approval of retail space in excess of 5,000 square feet of floor area. Town of North Castle Attorney Roland Baroni said in a public meeting held last year that the “application for special use permit” was not required because the retail space has been located in town, prior to when the zoning law took effect. The CCA's appeal argues that the determination that "all subsequent different retail uses in the same structure are exempt from the need for a special use permit or a site plan approval" is contrary to the zoning law.
The appeal also claims that "the special use permit for the A&P did not allow any retail use, but allowed for the specific supermarket for which it applied. The town's zoning law for site development plans states that a change in use requires site plan approval. "That determination may be waived if there is no change in off-street parking and loading and can only be granted by the Planning Board."
The CVS Pharmacy has submitted plans to the building department that include changes to the exterior appearance; these changes involve partial demolition and reconstruction of exterior walls to alter the existing ventilation system and access stairways. They also submitted plans to build a free-standing sign. The ARB did not review or approve the changes to the exterior building and signs, before the building permit was issued.
We spoke with two long-time Armonk residents from Annadale Road, across from Main Street, as well as neighbors of the Armonk Shopping Center. Ron Aaronson said he sees no need for a CVS in Armonk since there are several other CVS stores within a three-to-four-mile radius. There are at least five CVS stores within ten minutes of Armonk, including two in both Thornwood and Mount Kisco, and one in North White Plains.
Kathleen Petre said she does not want a CVS in our town. "Are we going to see a Subway or Dunkin' Donuts? We don't need that. We have difficulty with retail shops and people don't shop here. We don't want to see more vacant stores for rent in town." Economic conditions already pose difficulties for local businesses, and a CVS could make things worse for many stores in downtown Armonk.
Lane commented, "We asked the town board for a moratorium to review the town's Comprehensive Plan." The moratorium was denied by the Weaver Administration. But CCA did work with the Director of Planning Adam Kaufman and Town Attorney Roland Baroni to review where the zoning ordinances may be inadequate. "We wanted to assure that they maintain the character of the community and the infrastructure that supports the economic development in the downtown area. We retained a land use attorney to look at the town's land use ordinances and gave them some concepts to update the Comprehensive Plan for the business district. Kaufman and Baroni initiated the FP Clark Associates Formula Business Study in June of 2011," added Lane.
Lane explained, "CVS can operate at a loss here. They are coming in to protect their turf; if they don't, Walgreens or Rite Aid will, and they will take a percentage from some of CVS's other more successful stores.
"The Armonk hamlet is unique because it doesn't have any chain stores. The vision of what downtown should be needs to be defined. As a group, we want to make sure Armonk preserves its small-town-character feel. Armonk has a finite population of about 1,800 families, which is not going to change dramatically. If you consider adding retail businesses off Main Street, you're just dividing the pie."
At the end of the day, Lane likes to say, "All land use is political. My concern is that certain board members have certain agendas, but the Supervisor is doing a good job of trying to steer down the middle. I compliment him on that. "
The Zoning Board of Appeals will determine if the CCA Appeal has merit at their March 1, 2012 meeting.
CVS Comments Blogged from April 19 - May 3, 2011
57 comments 1. Steven | April 19, 2011 at 09:39 AM EDT At CVS will be a new store, the A&P is old and disgusting. Unfortunately CVS moving in will most likely hurt the business of Town Center Pharmacy, a long standing occupant of the community and who recently renovated. Why do we need another pharmacy and more importantly why does CVS need to be in Armonk. They have two in Mt. Kisco and one planned for the D'Agostino on Chappaqua. Nice job Mr. Werber!!!
2. Vivien Cord | April 19, 2011 at 11:26 AM EDT Don't the residents of Armonk have a say in this major decision? Sounds like it's a done deal. Who needs a CVS when there are two in Mt. Kisco and one in N. White Plains.
3. Frank Benish | April 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM EDT For those who have been following this debacle, this should come as no surprise. A and P Supermarkets around the region are closing on a fairly consistent pace. However, our A and P only had a month to month lease and wanted the property redeveloped
Our supervisor should have known better and planned accordingly to let Mr. Werber develop at least ONE of his many submitted plans. (I believe the planning board did approve at least one submitted plan). Mr. Werber has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to get this property redeveloped and has finally thrown in the towel.
I believe this fiasco represents a complete failure and points out the obvious inability for our esteemed town supervisor to negotiate a deal which would have benefited both the town and Mr. Werber.
Now there is an opportunity to develop a supermarket in Business Park Drive next to The Gym. I believe it is in the town's best interest to fast track this project and possibly even consider a rezoning of the entire BPD so help the property owners redevelop these half empty (In some cases mostly empty) buildings into appropriate spaces our town can utilize.
4. Christopher Carthy | April 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM EDT
I am disappointed that there may be a CVS in lieu of a supermarket in the A and P space. I will not support a CVS in that space and I encourage our community to oppose it.
5. Linda Fernberg | April 19, 2011 at 03:20 PM EDT I agree with some of the comments above, most importantly that we, the actual citizens of Armonk, should have a CVS thrust upon us. Not only do we have a LOCAL, FAMILY OWNED pharmacy that I see as our duty to represent and defend in this matter but; why on earth would we need a CVS in any case. We need a supermarket. And not necessarily the one proposed for Business Park (which will just be another overpriced supermarket). While some believe our downtown needs great improvement, I believe that we have a core of local business owners that deserve our support. Sure some sprucing up and small capital improvements are needed. But wholesale change, no. Furthermore, a CVS adds nothing to the equation. I would ask that our Town Board confer with Mr. Werber and reach a solution that addresses OUR needs, and maintains the downtown as THE MAIN SHOPPING DISTRICT OF ARMONK. Let's work together towards preserving our village.
6. Mark | April 19, 2011 at 03:21 PM EDT I'm glad we now will now have a CVS. Granted we do need a supermarket..perhaps now being without a supermarket will encourage and speed up the development of a better alternative than the old A&P. Regarding taking business away from the existing town pharmacy and other businesses..I'm very tired of the protectionism that continues to exist in this town. I think box stores should be allowed in town to create competition and perhaps fill the vacant stores that continue to plague Armonk. You think the residents of Greenwich fight box stores from coming into town? Greenwich Ave is not the ghost town of retail that Armonk is. Lets wake up people.
7. What a mess | April 19, 2011 at 05:06 PM EDT Thanks to all of you that fought against the expansion of the existing A&P property. Nice move.
Can you even imagine what the prices will be in the "supermarket" next to the gym (if it ever opens)?
And see I see in the comments that apparently it's OK to change the zoning in Business Park, but not OK at the old supermarket. How's that work Frank? I hear that there's not enough parking.
I wonder how much tax money we will loose? I certainly can't see a CVS generating as much revenue as a supermarket.
8. Brian | April 19, 2011 at 05:44 PM EDT I for one welcome CVS and hope a supermarket is approved for business park ASAP. This is wonderful news!!!
9. Most Residents | April 19, 2011 at 06:30 PM EDT Leave it to Frank Benish to turn this into a political football and to talk out of both sides of his mouth. This is priceless. Hey Frank, when are you going to run for the position of "king". The bottom line is that you are a complete shill for Mike Ferrari. Everyone pay attention to Mr. Benish giving his strong support for a supermarket in corporate park. Frank, do us all a favor and move! You have gone past "comical" to "disgraceful".
10. Micky | April 20, 2011 at 07:25 AM EDT This is crazy. We need a supermarket. As someone else said that it was better thank nothing. I will not drive to Mt. Kisco if I need one thing for dinner!!! I will ow make sure that ALL my shopping is done before I come home from work. Unfortunately, I will not be using the green grocer because I am sure it will be top dollar for everything.
11. Bill | April 20, 2011 at 07:41 AM EDT The town has a zoning provision prohibiting regional and national retail chains? Does that not apply here?
12. Susan | April 20, 2011 at 10:11 AM EDT This is a really bad business call on our town's part. We DON NOT need another CVS in this area. Armonk needs to stand behind the mom and pop stores. These are hard working people/ our friends who we have all come to know and respect. I will not support this CVS and either will a lot of others who live in this town. A supermarket is a draw for our people; to come into town and spend their money. If we have no supermarket where are we all to go. To other towns and spend our money? How does this decision as our lovely email we all got put it "A&P out CVS in"? help Armonk in any way shape or form? It does not. Who ever agreed to this... it is disgusting. There are a lot of business's that are going to be negatively affected. WOW what is happening to our town?
13. Ray | April 20, 2011 at 11:44 AM EDT It's fine for everyone to voice their opinion, but to constantly slam and use personal names over and over is ridiculous. No wonder the residents of North Castle are selling their homes and moving away. Who the hell wants to hear this??? p.s. I am for the supermarket, not CVS..I agree with Susan. Frank, you wonder why you weren't chosen for Supervisor?
14. Mark2 | April 20, 2011 at 01:08 PM EDT We are all failing to recognize one thing. A&P is on the verge of bankruptcy and in order to save their business are closing a number of non-performing locations in the area. Armonk being one of those non-performing locations. A&P moved out on Armonk folks...CVS is filling what would have been another soon to be vacate retail space in Armonk...bc that's what the space would be in a couple of months space. A&P wasn't renewing the lease bc of financial distress. We all should welcome CVS moving promptly and entering the space. The protectionist mentality of Mom & Pop stores only in Armonk is ill advised. How many Mom and Pop retail stores are sustainable in Armonk? Think about it. The vacancy rate and the delay in building the new Armonk square is proof that Armonk can NOT survive on Mom & Pop retail only...there is simply not enough shops that want to open in this economic climate. This protectionist mentality is one reason why taxes will continue to rise in Armonk.
Granted I agree a supermarket is needed in Armonk I agree with the Town for not allowing it on the current A&P site. The lack of Parking made it unfeasable. The Town residents spoke on this topic at Board meetings on a number of occasions...I was there. Take a look at the Parking situation at the Modern Barn on a Thursday night in prime season..parking overflows onto Cox Avenue continuously...creating a very dangerous situation. Solution..Plan Projects smart in Armonk. Get residents feedback and move forward with that feedback in mind. The A&P was shot down by the people...at numerous town board meetings. The residents of Armonk can't always "Monday Morning Quarterback" every decision the Town Board makes...and I note A&P moving out should not fall on the boards shoulders.
15. Supervisor's Statement | April 20, 2011 at 08:27 PM EDT Sent out earlier today: A Message from Supervisor Weaver ... At a meeting Monday morning, the property owner who leases space to the A&P food store told me he had decided not to renew the lease with A&P, but instead had signed a lease with CVS last Friday. The property owner explained that he had made a business decision. He said that because A&P had filed Chapter 11 he felt going into a new long-term lease with the company was not a good financial move for him. For more than a year I have kept in close contact with both the owner of the property and the lessee. Until Monday it was my understanding that the two were still in discussions to come to a long-term lease agreement. This news is not what any of us, including the lessee, expected. Please understand that the Town of North Castle does not own the property that is presently leased by the A&P, nor does the Town become involved in negotiating leases between private property owners and their lessees. I will continue to be open to all proposals from property owners who wish to lease or sell to grocery stores. On a related topic, the Public Hearing scheduled for April 27th to consider a Special Use Permit to allow a supermarket to occupy property on Business Park Drive has been postponed at the request of the property owner. It is my understanding that the property owner will notify us soon regarding a new date for the Public Hearing, and we will communicate that to you. Sincerely, William R. Weaver, Supervisor Town of North Castle 15 Bedford Road Armonk, New York 10504
16. Leslie Resnick | April 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM EDT As a small business owner that no longer is located in Armonk (I own Wisteria Gifts, now in Pleasantville) due to the "building" of the Armonk Square, I think it is a shame to bring a CVS in. This opens the door to other big box stores to come to town. In the interest of competition, it would be a lot less offensive if this were a family owned pharmacy competing against Town Center, but this is a chain. By the way, if you look at any reports on the contributions chains make to a town, they produce less money for the community than the local small business owner. The town really needs to look at what the town will look like with CVS. It will look like every small town in America and not retain its individuality and uniqueness that is currently enjoyed.
As an aside, do people really think that a supermarket in the business park is going to work? Regardless of whether you think A&P is dirty or not, it is convenient, in town, and easy to get to. As a business owner I do know that regardless of how great you are, convenience plays a big role in shopping habits.
Small business owners are what keeps a town interesting and vibrant. Supporting the local businesses that are here is key to the survival of the small town.
17. Frank Benish | April 21, 2011 at 01:17 PM EDT It's entertaining to read comments from faceless, nameless individuals whose only priority is to preserve their agendas (and/or our elected leaders sacred positions?) - by taking potshots at me. Asking me to move does not solve the problem at hand. Please don't shoot the messenger.
Sorry to say this but the bottom line is that our Supervisor has failed to negotiate a deal which would have kept the A and P in town. The developer submitted numerous proposals to redevelop the A and P. Does anyone believe Jack Lombardi would have bungled this as badly as our current Supervisor has? Read his statement: "For more than a year I have kept in close contact with both the owner of the property and the lessee. Until Monday it was my understanding that the two were still in discussions to come to a long-term lease agreement."
A competent CEO needs to know how to make - and close a deal.
To make matters worse, Councilmen Schiliro and Kittredge refused to even vote for a public hearing regarding the proposed supermarket in Business Park Drive which now would leave Armonk residents with NO ALTERNATIVE except to drive 15-20 minutes to NWP or Mt. Kisco. What kind of vision is that?
And just for the record - I have no bias in this issue because politically speaking - leadership has failed us from both Republicans and Democrats.
The other point people are missing is that the developer has a right to negotiate with whomever he wishes. He made a business decision. He signed a lease with CVS. It wasn't "thrust upon us". Personally speaking - I prefer a supermarket in our town - not a CVS. However, as a private citizen, I have no right to impose my preferences on Mr. Werber.
Finally - Think about how the absence of a supermarket will effect young families and seniors alike. What about those on a tight budget? Do you believe its fair to force them to pay a premium for basic staple items - simply because now there will be no competition? Who wants to pay $10.00 for two pounds of apples? How about $35.00 for a container of baby formula? Now can you see where this may lead to?
Armonk needs a supermarket. A and P is out. We need to move on. Lets embrace the one viable alternative we have in BPD - provided of course that developer still even has an interested supermarket. This should be a "no-brainer".
18. Elphaba | April 21, 2011 at 03:05 PM EDT This is a bad, bad idea. How much longer till we have a Dunkin Donuts on every other corner? 19. Dace Aperans | April 21, 2011 at 10:49 PM EDT I will miss the helpful staff at A&P very much; many have been at the store for years and know people in the community by name. I hope the staff will be able to find jobs elsewhere. I am worried that the A%P's closing will have a negative impact on the town, unless another grocery store can open very soon. I'm also worried about CVS affecting the overall small-town atmosphere of Armonk.
20. Armonk Resident | April 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM EDT A supermarket in corporate park will draw business away from main street. A DeCicco market will put Le Mer, Village Prime Meats and at least one deli out of business. The store off Route 84 will soon be selling craft beers and food in a cafe area in their store. This will also be the first step to rezoning the corporate park area for retail. Listen to what people like Diane Roth (realtor) say about the project. The want it approved and salivate at the idea of retail in that area. It will destroy business on main street and eliminate the small town feel of our village. Roth, Cronin, Benish and Ferrari are working hand in hand to make this happen. Listen to what they say and watch their actions on this issue. RESIDENTS BEWARE!!!!
21. William | April 22, 2011 at 02:31 PM EDT I am troubled by the insults to the intelligence of the town's consumers represented by many of the comments above. The incoherent shambles of the Armonk downtown should not be defended.
We all understand that the fights against the A&P and the pressure against the CVS are coming from a small group of vocal vested interests who want to protect their properties from competition. They have been abetted by the town administrations, current and past, who caters to this set of cronies.
Town residents need products and services at reasonable prices. If Town Center Pharmacy offers a better service than CVS - CVS will fail. The decision should be up to town consumers. Why should we be forced to subsidize an inferior or inefficient merchant just because it is a Mom & Pop. Maybe the Town Center space could better serve to host a badly needed reasonably priced casual dining restaurant(Of course mid price = chain and we wouldn't want that, would we. Frankly I would kill for an Olive Garden.)
A small click of special interests have protected our "quaint" (read abandoned) downtown to death. We need to obtain some competent city planning and open up the spaces on both sides of 22 with the interests of the towns consumers, not not the old townie clicks in mind.
22. Marie | April 22, 2011 at 03:30 PM EDT It's simple...we need to boycott CVS when it moves in and then it will leave. As for Frank Benish, the voters have spoken multiple times. We don't want you as our Supervisor nor do we want you on our Board of Education. You make North Castle look terrible. Move out and get a life; your dreams of elected office will never come to be.
23. ACA | April 25, 2011 at 10:36 AM EDT I agree with Mark and William above. I believe that there is a good amount of hypocrisy in the comments to this thread. I did not hear any comments when the new restaurants came into town in the recent past, basically throwing out of business other existing establishments that have been in Armonk for years. Not "mom & pop's" enough? I did not see any army getting up in defense of the existing gym when "The Gym" opened its doors. Did we really need a new gym? Maybe so, but what happened to the other guys? On the other hand, we were able to reject an excellent initiative like the outdoor market also in the name of the "mom & pop's" of Armonk. And what about the new wine stores? Nobody said anything about the good old wine store on Main Street, that all of the sudden saw its revenues go down because of new competition.I guess when it comes down to food and booze we don't really care? We currently have 15 restaurants, 5 wine stores, 5 pizza places, 5 bakeries, 4 coffee shops. Why can't we have 2 pharmacies? The same set of rules applies to everybody. We cannot pick who we want to survive and let the others perish. The question is: do we allow competition or not? If we do, then we take a step back and let the market play its role. And please remember, A&P was going to go anyway, regardless of what the replacement will be, since the Company is bankrupt.
24. ACA | April 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM EDT And Mr. Weaver should not sound so surprised about what happened. In September 2009 an article on this same website discussing the renovation of the A&P site concluded that "it was noted that if the applicant doesn't get approval for development of Armonk Shopping Center, they'll lease the building to a large drug store chain".Surprise!!! I also read comments about how a CVS would eliminate the "small town feel of our village". Oh yes, that is right! How can we ever replace the "small town feel" provided now by the charming A&P, its beautiful exterior its impeccable cleanliness and its appealing parking lot? Not an easy task.... This "small charming town" needs to move on. We have roads crumbling into pieces, a hole in the middle of town (the Armonk Square project) that needs to be filled since 2006. At the same time our "small charming town" is losing tax revenues, with hundreds of homes for sale at increasingly lower prices, foreclosures on the rise, residents out of a job or forced to accept paycuts. Some of our little paradise residents need a reality check, instead of worrying about how a headless, armless, harmless, topless mannequin can offend us. We cannot blame CVS if we don't (and maybe will not) have a supermarket. Somebody wanted to build one at the Bowling site: the answer was no. They wanted to improve and expand the existing one: the answer was no. Now they want to build a new one in Business Park Drive: the answer will probably be another no. This is the same Board that would ask you and your architect to come in 35 times to tell you what color is the most appropriate for your bedroom and at the same time is responsible for the Westwood Recycling debacle (that is going to cost us $500,000 simple for lack of basic planning)and approved the cell tower in Windmill in a surprisingly quick decision........
25. Linda Fernberg comment #2 | April 25, 2011 at 07:38 PM EDT I direct these comments to Mr. Benish, then the viability of the A&P in general.
Mr. Benish, I am neither faceless or nameless, when I write a comment I use both my first and last name. Now to the facts. The CVS is being thrust upon us by a businessman, who of course is making a business decision in HIS OWN INTEREST. He neither lives here nor has any concern for us, the bottom line is his concern. That is a given. Quite frankly, I cannot see CVS making a huge profit here. The population of Armonk is a bit over 11,000 according to recent census material. I have to believe that many of those counted are children. Not spending adults. So I question the sense of a CVS in a very small town which does not have any real "passing through" population which would shop at this store.
In addition, what many people do not seem to know is that the reason this A&P was not closed is because it is VERY PROFITABLE FOR A&P! Yes, A&P is bankruptcy, but they are reorganizing NOT LIQUIDATING. So it seems that it would remain profitable as long as it is here. I would ask if there is some way a plan could be developed that benefited both Mr. Werber (the landlord) and the town residents to keep the A&P or a different supermarket?
As far as protectionism of our local storeowners, Armonk is not and never will be Greenwich. This is and will remain a small town. But if a box store wanted to come in that did not duplicate what four other stores already do for us (Town Center Pharmacy, VIP Video, The Right Thing and the Dairy Mart), I for one would not be upset. Let's also be real about something, didn't most of us move here because it is a SMALL TOWN WITH A SMALL TOWN FEEL!!!!
Finally, Mr. Benish and Mr. Lutz certainly have the right to say what they want. My problem with them is that they CONSTANTLY CRITICIZE CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE TOWN BOARD and LAY ALL BLAME AT THEIR FEET. It has gotten to the point of being ridiculous. As I have said before, these elected officials work hard at making this town a wonderful place to live. Stop the sniping it is very unbecoming and serves no real purpose. POLITICS SHOULD BE SAVED FOR ELECTIONS, NOT THE EVERY DAY BUSINESS OF THE TOWN. Linda Fernberg
26. marty | April 26, 2011 at 09:08 AM EDT one should see if the "Drive Thru" is permitted for the CVS in DownTown Armonk. one should also ask that a SEQRA study be done to determine the impacts of CVS opening on businesses in downtown Armonk.
27. Jay | April 26, 2011 at 10:16 AM EDT Armonk is a Hamlet in the Town of North Castle. 11,000+ is the population of the entire town. Likely 6,000+_ in the Armonk area. So, grocery shopping is split: N. White Plains, Bedford, Armonk, and Mt. Kisco, Thornwood, etc.
28. Sally | April 26, 2011 at 02:19 PM EDT I personally shop in CVS's wherever I go. BUT WE DO NOT NEED ONE IN ARMONK!!!!! WE NEED A FOOD STORE...Period. We have a beautiful drug store already. I will boycott any CVS in Armonk. It will be a great hardship to go to Mt. Kisco, White Plains or Thornwood to shop. What is happening to our beautiful Hamlet??
29. gary rockabrand | April 27, 2011 at 07:30 AM EDT Wow!! It's about time that Armonk wakes up and takes advantage of keeping money in there own backyard!Keep residents shopping in Armonk without having to go outside. DeCicco Markets look attractive, do they have an in house pharmacy like most supermarkets do today? I wanted to put a McDonald's in Armonk in 1976 and we were turned down even though we had the financing!!! Look at your GREAT town and say to yourself why have most graduates leave after BHHS and college and don't come back??? From a former resident I hope you open your eyes Armonk!!!!!
30. christine | April 27, 2011 at 11:23 AM EDT The last time we had an uproar like this was when the Farmer's Market was proposed... any new competition on Main Street to existing Main Street business is the boogy-man. New competition off Main Street doesn't seem to be so frightful.
31. Fred Coughlin | April 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM EDT I believe it is imperative that they keep that A&P site a supermarket. CVS will not survive in a small town of ours. The Werber's should consider contacting another food chain about the possibility of coming to Town.Business Park Drive will be to congested with traffic and there will be more accidents at the intersection on 22. Finally this is not a Political issue! it is up the the property owner to select a tenant and hopefully it will be a FOOD STORE !!
32. Mark3 | April 27, 2011 at 01:01 PM EDT Again I support a Grocery store in Armonk but do welcome a CVS for the cost savings it offers to the educated consumers of Armonk. To give you a small "apple to apple" sample of the costs of products that both Armonk Town Center Pharmacy offers and CVS offers:
Q Tips 100 count $6.10 in Armonk TC; $4.99 at CVS; 18.20% more expensive in Armonk TC
J&J Baby Powder $5.98 in Armonk TC; $4.29 at CVS; 28.26% more expensive in Armonk TC
Tylenol 100 count $14.26 in Armonk TC; $10.76 at CVS; 24.54% more expensive in Armonk TC
Robitussen DM 8 oz $14.76 in Armonk TC; 4.77 at CVS; 32.32% more expensive in Armonk TC
Edge shaving cream 7oz $4.87 in Armonk TC; 3.99 at CVS; 18.07% more expensive in Armonk TC
Zantac 150 8 count $8.98 in Armonk TC; 5.99 at CVS; 33.30% more expensive at Armonk TC
Lubriderm Daily lotion 16oz $13.54 in Armonk TC; $7.99 at CVS; 40.99 more expensive at Armonk TC
Therma Care Heatwrap back releief $11.65 in Armonk TC; 6.99 at CVS; 40.00% more expensive at Armonk TC
Do the educated consumers of Armonk see a trend here? If you would like to spend on the sample above an average of 29.46% more money by continuing to shop at Armonk TC so be it then the CVS is not for you and CVS will fail. But be educated when making your decision. Do your own sample of goods that both pharmacies offer.
..and please don't tell me about the small town hamlet nonsense. I still have to give my name when picking up a prescription at the Armonk TC Pharmacy. They don't know you by name like some people claim.
33. Topless In Armonk | April 27, 2011 at 01:39 PM EDT Will the CVS have a topless mannequin in the window? If not, how about a portrait of Mike Ferrari!
34. Brian | April 27, 2011 at 02:20 PM EDT I completely agree with the comments regarding the need for competition to existing businesses. Why are there no complaints when a new restaurant opens or a new wine store? Is that not competition to existing businesses?? Yet everyone seem to survive just fine. We should welcome commercial establishments in the town, they help support the tax base, provide jobs and keep residents shopping in town. I also agree that we need a supermarket and feel business park is a good place for it. A supermarket does not have a constant heavy flow of traffic (except maybe a few holidays a year). This town needs to allow smart growth and stop protecting "certain" businesses.
35. Jason | April 27, 2011 at 03:11 PM EDT Mark3- Thank you for that astonishing discovery and providing us all with those compared prices, none of us had any idea a large scale chain would be cheaper than a local pharmacy! Do you mean to tell me a Television set at Walmart would be cheaper than one from a privately own business store?? That's not the point. A CVS would take away business not just from the pharmacy, but the other stores on Main Street. This town has one and only one grocery store, why are they taking that away from us to replace it with another service that is already offered in neighboring towns? There are already CVSs in both Mt. Kisco and White Plains, we do not need one here.
Also, one of my friends in town sent me this video, I suggest you all to watch, it is pretty entertaining.
36. Dusty L. | April 27, 2011 at 07:10 PM EDT For those who are in support of a national chain store like CVS coming to Armonk I say why don't you all just put your energies into bringing a Costco, a Walmart and a Home Depot to town as well. Let's just make Armonk look like any other generic strip mall city without character or individuality. What do you think it is about a nice Main Street with original 'Mom & Pop' stores that appeals to people anyway? If you can't figure that out then the blue light special in aisle 38 is waiting just for you.
37. Brian | April 27, 2011 at 10:23 PM EDT I don't understand what the big deal about a national chain coming to town is all about?? All the banks, real estate offices, gas stations and the A&P itself are either regional or national chains!!
38. Mark4 | April 28, 2011 at 09:47 AM EDT Jason, Interesting video. Of course CVS automated service would not recognize a Town Center Prescription number. If a business doesn't perform then they will fail. The fact that CVS has a number of locations proves they may be performing in most cases yielding some benefit in the communities it serves. I'm not saying the CVS is for everyone and apparently the premium that people choose to pay by using the Town Pharmacy perhaps yields certain benefits. This is the nature of competition and business in general. Why do people choose to eat at Amore Pizza vs the Modern Barn. Nothing bad about either restaurant as I have dined at both establishments but businesses offer different goods and services (or levels of service) to gain a client base. The Armonk businesses that you claim to be affected need to compete...this is the bottom line or perhaps a tariff or toll at the end of Rt128 for Armonk residence shopping outside Armonk is more your style. The vacancy rate in Armonk retail is astounding and building of new retail is obviously on hold because the market doesn't warrant the additional units. The owner of the A&P spot has spent a tremendous amount of money trying to redevelop his property with no luck...now the people are going to ask him to go into his pocket again saying he can't sign a lease with CVS. Seems like you support another vacant space in Armonk rather than CVS. A&P is bankrupt..they are not going to sign a lease again unless it is heavily discounted...which I suspect the owner of the space rather not do. The A&P space is rather small I'd be pleasantly surprised if another larger grocery store would be interested in the space. Again to be clear I'm not opposed to another grocery store in this space...but if the CVS comes I welcome the competition their presence yields rather then another vacant storefront in Armonk.
39. Jason | April 28, 2011 at 05:31 PM EDT Mark- It seems you can't get past the almighty power of a dollar. I thought this town was a close-knit community that's supposed to look out for each other, not call for each other's heads. I agree with you that competition is great; it brings out the best in businesses and owners alike. However, how fair is it for privately owned businesses to compete with multi-million dollar corporations? Had another privately owned pharmacy or business signed a lease, I doubt you would be seeing this unparalleled uproar from the town. You are in the minority supporting and backing such a CVS. Perhaps you may even like a Walmart or Costco to replace the giant eagle welcoming people into our town; it's all about money and I don't think that eagle is generating any profits for us, right? Maybe we can even set up a small, quaint sweatshop next to the Middle School to satiate your hunger for low priced goods.
This should NOT just be about money. If you were at the Town Board meeting in the North Castle Public Library last night, you would have heard the tale of a young woman working at the A&P for years, endearing herself to our community. Now, if CVS moves in, she's out of a job and a source of income to support her family. But that's ok, this town should become a dog-eat-dog world where only the strong survive right?
You are correct that Mr. Werber has a desire to renovate and revamp his property. What you failed to mention is his proposal to the town board to renovate the A&P, which the board continually refused to make a decision on (Thank you Mr. Ferari for having members of the town board in your pocket). This is all questionable politics. I applaud the relentless effort of this town to make things right and to have their voices heard.
40. Censorship? | April 28, 2011 at 06:47 PM EDT Why is AAA not posting anything negative about Ferri, Benish, Lutz, Cronin and Roth. At least two people have told me their posts were not put up. All were civil but biting. Why does Benish get to say anything he wants on these comments and those on the other side get censored? This is not good journalism.
41. Michelle | April 28, 2011 at 09:08 PM EDT The question above refers to comments blogged in regard to the political article published on April 24. Allaboutarmonk.com welcomes civil discussions and as stated, will not publish comments campaigning, endorsements, or political attacks.
42. Mark | April 29, 2011 at 08:44 AM EDT Jason I would have loved to have gone to the town meeting last night however I was home helping my wife care for three children under the age of three. So yes stretching a dollar is pretty important right now for my family and I'm sure others in town are as well. I'm a realistic person I'm not suggesting a WalMart or Costco are fitting in town nor an Organic recycling center behind the Eagle. I do support smaller box stores like CVS, perhaps a Gap, JCrew, or other smaller retail within a certain sq footage to help fill the vacant retail environment we call downtown Armonk. Greenwich , Rye, Larchmont, Scarsdale, Bronxville and others all have these small box stores and they are surviving and all claim a small town feel. Further most companies start off as private companies. You think Bill Gates when he built his first computer in his garage pleaded to IBM in Armonk not to compete with him? Did you fight IBM coming into town too? Further Richard & Maurice McDonald (not Ray Kroc as most people believe) opened McDonald's back in 1940 with one restaurant not the millions currently in existing. My point is that Private companies need to compete and strive for something bigger. You may have heard this before..it's called The American Dream. As William mentions above "Why should we be forced to subsidize an inferior or inefficient merchant just because it is a Mom & Pop.?" If I am the minority in this debate then the popular majority is responsible for the vast vacancy rate and failed building of Armonk Square. Then the majority has proved that Mom & Pops can't fill retail space in Armonk alone. Your mentality is very much protectionism at its finest which will yield...sorry..will sustain the weak retail environment currently existing in Armonk. Like I mentioned before perhaps a toll booth leaving Armonk is more your style. I keep hearing CVS will hurt Main street. What specific establishments in your opinion will be effected and how? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Regarding the young lady that has worked at A&P for years concerned for her job. I feel badly about this..I do. Do we ban all multimillion dollar business like IBM, & LaQuita perhaps because the lay off employees? A&P is closing their doors regardless if CVS is moving in...you are failing to remember they are bankrupt and are moving out on Armonk.
43. Brian | April 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM EDT Mark,
I agree with a lot of your points and would welcome some smaller box stores in town. I don't see how it would change the character of the town at all, while providing needed tax revenue and jobs. I agree that small business must compete and there is room for everyone to succeed. If certain people prefer the mom & pop stores, then they are welcome to shop there. Let the community at large determine what businesses survive or fail. If nobody wants a chain, then they will ultimately fail and close, why not give them a chance. As for anyone loosing a job, I would hope that new retail (including CVS) would supply many equivalent job opportunities to supplement any job looses.
44. Jason | April 29, 2011 at 01:52 PM EDT Mark- Obviously our frivolous argument is getting us nowhere. I just ask that you watch the meeting from this past Wednesday night, it's located at http://northcastleny.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=392 . If anything, watch from 51:20, a speech by Barbara DiGiacinto, who essentially addresses all your gripes one by one.
45. Concerned Resident | April 29, 2011 at 03:29 PM EDT I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The Town Center Pharmacy is too expensive - I don't even shop there now unless it's an emergency. As a resident, I like lower prices, and I don't like empty stores. As many have said, if you don't want to shop at CVS, go to the Town Center. If you want a supermarket, support the alternative plans. A&P was old, dirty and now bankrupt. Many claim it was profitable and would not be closed. Can anyone prove that?
Has anyone noticed how run down Main Street looks? New small size corporate box stores are good for the entire community. They are stable and generate revenue consistently. They maintain their appearances very nicely (generally) and just make good tenants. They promote competition and lastly, they keep property values higher (people like convenience and lower prices in this economy - it's a fact - I know I don't like paying $5.00 a gallon for gas in Armonk), which given the recent downturn, I think is a good thing.
Why attack the property owner? It's his lot. Does anyone tell you what to do with your yard (within reason)? The fact that people are trying to prevent him from doing what he considers in his own best interests is so bizarre to me that I can barely fathom a scintilla of rationale thought there.
I don't see a small town feel, I see an aging town that badly needs life and revitalization.
46. mc | April 29, 2011 at 05:24 PM EDT According to today's Journal News article,regarding the CVS/Werber deal: "'It's an executed lease. It will result in a very large lawsuit and damages if either party tries to back out', said Alfred DelBello." Now it makes it appear that the only location for a grocery store is Business Park Drive location. Conveniently it works out well for Mr. Ferrari though.
But, a real concern regarding the grocery store proposed by Mr.Ferrari is that, out of several possibilities, only one store considers it as a feasible business prospect. What if DeCicco's realizes this location and customer base (or lack thereof) is not in their best interests. We're stuck.
47. commonsense | April 30, 2011 at 12:34 PM EDT The people of Armonk should be ashamed. There is a lease -- a binding contract -- and many in the town are making improper threats to interfere with the contract. Rather than address the merits, the opponents to the CVS are (a) defaming town officials and residents; (b) threatening a boycott of a legitimate (ultimately taxpaying) entity; and (c)promising the misuse of administrative processes (such as the planning board and architectural review board) to kill the project by delay, following their Armonk Square playbook. The Journal News article only amplifies the anti-business, anti-growth mentality of some in Armonk, and sends a message to the county, and possible future residents, that the town is dysfunctional. There is no doubt that CVS would be welcomed by the silent majority in town, whose shopping habits will not be dictated by the loudest and most obnoxious among us. The loud crowd killed Armonk Square, a supermarket at the former bowling alley, a farmers market, and basic improvements that would have enhanced the existing A&P site and possibly obviated this whole debate. Congratulations, Armonk, for allowing a self-serving few (who profit from a frozen status quo) to set the agenda, kill progress, depress property values, increase taxes, and create eyesores in the heart of town. I have to sign off now so I can go to Mt. Kisco for a clean, well-stocked supermarket, cheaper gas, and a pharmacy that does not force its customers to walk past ridiculously-priced and unnecessary items -- like rats in a maze -- simply to reach the register.
48. Steven | April 30, 2011 at 05:16 PM EDT For someone with the username "common sense", one would assume that they would realize it will be nearly impossible to attract potential new residents to this town with no grocery store, inevitably hindering our "potential growth". I would love to meet some of of the individuals included in this "silent majority", they have remained pretty silent throughout this entire process. The petitions and backlash going on against CVS in town has received little to no opposition. As far as "defaming town officials and residents", are we not allowed to speak out against shady politics? Diane Roth and Mike Fareri's clandestine relationship has officially been brought to light. It's funny you mention a self-serving few which pretty much sums up Mr. Ferari in a nutshell due to his recent actions involving his desire to contract a supermarket in BPD in the near future. Hopefully when you go to Mt. Kisco you can also pickup some more "common sense".
49. Armonk Person | May 01, 2011 at 09:17 AM EDT "Werber also says that his firm never proposed a CVS for the retail space, the idea was proposed by a resident." Gee, I wonder who that "resident" was? My money is on Mike Ferrari. He forces the A&P out (remember that he OPPOSED the A&P project). Gets a CVS and puts Town Center Pharmacy out of business as retribution for opposing his plans. Then he comes in as the "savior" with his own project. IS EVERYONE PAYING ATTENTION?
50. Linda | May 01, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT It should be obvious to anyone that has been following this issue that there are many divergent points of view and competing interests that need to be addressed. I do not envy the Town Board, whose job is to try and do what is best for the Town overall. It seems to me that the Town needs a supermarket. The issue is whether placing this supermarket in the Business Park will ultimately be more detrimental to the Town (in terms of driving business away from downtown) than having no supermarket. While I favor a supermarket in the downtown, if that is not possible, then I favor a supermarket located in an area that will have the least impact on downtown businesses, and the least likelihood for a slippery slope of zoning changes that will create vacancies in the downtown. If downtown starts to look like a "ghost town", this will definitely detract from our town and discourage those who want to move to Armonk.
51. Joe | May 01, 2011 at 07:41 PM EDT If CVS is a done deal how about Armonk Square. That makes sense for a good quality supermarket. I know plans have been submitted but it would be the most convenient and maybe could jump start the project.
52. Ann | May 01, 2011 at 08:16 PM EDT We so need an affordable and appealing supermarket in our town. I have lived here for over 30yrs and that A&P has never been updated. It is a disgrace but it can be renovated to make us residents feel proud of our in town supermarket. Main St. needs such a facelift. If you want to compare Armonk to towns like Greenwich, Darien and New Cannan we really need to get the ball rolling here and get our downtown looking like theirs!!
53. Old Timer | May 02, 2011 at 10:12 AM EDT Instead of getting a 2nd CVS in town, and one of four existing and one other planned in Thornwood, Mt. Kisco and Bedford Hills, did the property owner ever consider a supermarket that might attract people to Armonk as well as provide residents with a food store? Trader Joes or Whole Foods would be perfect for that location.
54. Joe | May 03, 2011 at 07:37 AM EDT This is NOT about preserving Town Center Pharmacy's monopoly! It is about keeping a supermarket in town.
Ideally, we could have a CVS and a supermarket.
The small town mentality has not served this town well. As a 21-year resident I see the broken sidewalks, crumbling streets (Maple Ave.) and litter everywhere (see 128 between School St. and Sands Mill Ln.). It is not charming at all. This is not really a town we should be so proud of. Towns like Chappaqua, New Canaan, Bronxville & Katonah are in far better condition, offer thriving downtown retail and don't tax their residents to death.
55. R G Sulivan | May 03, 2011 at 08:10 AM EDT 1) The total population of North Castle is not relevant to the supermarket, 5927 residents in North White Plains would not come to Armonk for groceries.
2) The best place for the supermarket is where it currently is. Second best place was the old bowling alley (now sold to NYC). Best available place is the Business Park. Worst place is Armonk Square.
3) Hard to see how A&P couldn't make money with those prices. I recall the company (now in chap 11) paid a special $7 dividend in 2006.
4) CVS knows what they are doing, they have 7200 stores. The see the credit card sales and prescriptions sold from other nearby stores. A store in Armonk will also pull customers from the back country of Greenwich.
56. David Freund | May 03, 2011 at 08:47 AM EDT Many people have commented on letting the free market work. It is clear that these statements ignore the fact that business development in a small town like Armonk is not a free market. What we have is a market that is regulated by a town board that has been ineffective at working with the landlord to find a solution for the redevelopment of the A&P space. My guess is that if this space were redeveloped properly that its best and most profitable use for the landlord would be as a supermarket. And a good supermarket would provide healthy competition for the small stores in town. A good market will have a quality florist, a fish monger, a butcher, and sometimes a pharmacy.
The Greenwich Whole Foods does not seem to have a much larger footprint than our A&P.
I am also wondering why no one has suggested that the best use for the space on business park drive would be a CVS? This space is not as valuable for a supermarket in a truly free market - where there would be a competing super market on Main Street.
57. Mark again | May 03, 2011 at 05:43 PM EDT Again I agree we need a supermarket. Would it be nice to have a renovated A&P at the current site..absolutely..but please remember the current owner submitted multiple plans and spend over $100k for these renovation proposals and the town's people (not just certain few and many suggest) spoke up an said NO for various reasons including lack of parking. I really can't speak for the owner of the site but I would imagine he is a bit bitter. I know I would be to invest so much time and money and see my "neighbors" in this Hamlet as some call it above and come up empty time and time again. As the small town advocate's say above where is the sense of community (originally directed as support for the Town Pharmacy) and support for the owner of the A&P site during the last couple years. The town's people literally bit the hand that fed them for the last few years and are without a supermarket for a period of time..we are going to have to live with (sorry without) it. I find it amazing how the threat of being without a supermarket all of a sudden turns the peoples attitude and they are now begging the owner of the site to reconsider...especially after so many people called the supermarket a "dump of an A&P" in the past. I agree 100% with "Concerned resident", "Common Sense" & "Joe" above. I will end with a thought...is there a perfect site location for a new supermarket in Armonk at this time...no I personally don't think so...but we have to make the best alternative proposal work at this time. Does someone say "Eminent Domain"...it may be time to consider this to get the supermarket site and improve downtown Armonk into what it really should be. Thoughts???