Planning Board Meeting                                                  3-15-2017


                        I assume that everyone survived the Big Snow. I loved it, it was a taste of what Northeast winters SHOULD be. It always surprises me when the news makes a huge deal of a few inches of snow, because well, we ARE upstate New Yorkers, what's a little snow? 

                         Tonight's Planning Board Meeting included a lot line change,  a permit app for the new, used car lot at the old Variety Motors site, and of course, DUNKIN DONUTS. So far, the residents of New Lebanon seem to be very disinterested in this matter, even though it will have a profound effect on the look and character of our town going forward. No one seems to care much that this will open the door to any and every Fast Food enterprise that wishes to open their doors here. Once we say YES to Dunkin, we are saying YES to all of them. 

                          I can't speak for others, but I moved to the country to escape everything I hate about the city. I wanted to live far away from the commercial look of cities, the neon lights, signs, traffic lights, and ugly hamburger and pizza chains. Maybe it's just ME, but I would be heartbroken to see this town, one of the few rural towns still untouched by the French Fry Freeways, turn into another cookie-cutter, miniature, Las Vegas strip.  Right now, we are a long way from that, but once Dunkin comes in, we are on that road. NO turning back.   

                        LEGALLY, there is little to nothing that we can do to stop this project. The franchisee has and is going through all the required steps and there is nothing in our go-bag to fight against it. The property itself has not yet been officially purchased by Mr. Leal, the closing is pending approval by the town and DOT. The ONLY violation that I can see in this proposal, is the number of signs involved. There are the two allowed, the one on the building and the one on the posts by the road. In addition to those, there will be the Menu Board at the Drive-Thru, and numerous small signs such as; Enter, Exit, One-Way, Drive-Thru, Parking, Come Again, etc. These were mentioned specifically by the engineer tonight. Yet Blueberry Hill was recently cited for having more than the two allowed.

                      Other than that, there are really NO violations of town codes in this proposal except that it IS a National Chain Store. Paul McCreary attempted to twist that fact tonight by stating that this business is a NOT a chain, but a Franchise. Weak argument there! He also said that nowhere in our Comprehensive Plan is there a mention of National Chain Stores, only Big Box stores. I don't have a copy of the document, so I can only go on what I've been told by Town Officials who SHOULD know. THEY tell me that Chain Stores ARE banned in the Comp. Plan. So it depends on who is reading it, I guess! Still, we have only ONE option to stop this nightmare, and that is Public Dissent.  The ONLY thing that can possibly keep New Lebanon from becoming a commercial strip, is YOU.  

                      YOU have to attend the Public Hearing and SAY something! YOU have to write letters to the CEO, Cissy Hernandez. YOU have to write letters to the newspapers, and YOU have to spread the word! Only our objections can keep our town rural and unique. ONLY our objections and loyalty can save the businesses that Dunkin Donuts will take income away from. 

                        In the past few months, I have seen more apathy and lack of concern about ANYTHING from the people, than I have ever seen before in my life! It's almost as if everyone is drinking a sleep potion and walking around like the world outside their living rooms does not exist.  Yeah, I'm TOO passionate about this stuff, I know, but for Heaven's sake folks, is there nothing you will stand for? Nothing you will object to? 

                        I will guarantee you right now, that IF we have no turnout of dissenters at this public hearing next month, we WILL have a Dunkin Donuts operating in the middle of town by June. If that happens, so be it, as long as you understand that it will be that first slippery step to becoming a commercialized, ugly place to live and our history and culture will disappear forever. If you are okay with that, or choose to have sugary donuts closer to home, rather than protect the integrity of your town, so be it. 

                        This will be a life-altering project for this town, and not in a good way, so think about it for more than a minute and decide what side you fall on, then DO something about it or forever hold your peace. 

  Dunkin Donuts Public Hearing:  Wednesday, April 19th at 7:30 p.m.

  REMINDER: Town Board Mtg. Tomorrow at 7
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Guess What?  Cuomo now wants to make our kids even MORE clueless!

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   The red and green squares depict the Dunkin Donuts site. Stewarts is just to the left of the squares.