To those of you wondering what has become of PDDG, or of me, or of this column and, most importantly, of our efforts to defeat Newman’s Big Box plans for the Gateway, I would like to offer this update.
The outcome of last month’s Town elections was certainly not what I had hoped for or expected. I believed that the community that had shown such concern about traffic and sprawl and such support for Geneseo’s small town character in a recent community-wide survey would elect people committed to their same vision. I’m not sure why that didn’t happen.
Maybe the personal appeal of candidates overwhelmed ideas and issues. Maybe the muck got too deep for people to wade through. Maybe the community is less committed to a particular vision of itself and its future than I believed. Maybe economic anxieties trumped.
Whatever the case, the election results, fatigue from the campaign, and the need to spend some time doing the job I’m paid to do, have led me to refocus some of my energy.
There is also another reason for my and PDDG’s lower profile these days. After a hard push to write all of our many comments on the problems with Newman’s Big Box proposal and with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that it produced as part of the review of that proposal, there hasn’t been much to do or say.
Those comments, which were submitted to the Town Planning Board on November 8, pretty much say it all: that Newman’s proposal is impermissible under state and local law and that its DEIS is so badly flawed as to require a substantial rewrite.
Once Newman is made to answer the questions required of it by the scope – questions related to how much additional traffic will use residential roads to bypass the congestion on 20A and how much additional retail sprawl will follow this Big Box and what Newman is willing to do to offset the costs of its development – the scale of this folly will be revealed.
Sour grapes, you may say. I don’t think so. Sure, I wish the election had turned out differently. Life would be easier if it had. However, we are a nation of laws and law protects us from the tyranny of the majority.
If that majority would like to change the law, it may do so. Until then, however, Newman’s proposal must be evaluated under the laws we have and I don’t think those laws look favorably on this proposal.
So, don’t expect to see any white flags waving outside PDDG headquarters. The Big Box battle is a long way from over and we will fight it to the end.