The Northern Westchester Examiner

Town Board Speaks Out Against Walmart Supercenter in Cortlandt

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The current Walmart at Cortlandt Town Center.
The current Walmart at Cortlandt Town Center.

Plans for a Walmart Supercenter across from the Cortlandt Town Center may never get beyond the discussion stage.

During a work session last week, Supervisor Linda Puglisi revealed for the first time she was opposed to the 160,000-square-foot store and 750 parking spaces planned on a 36-acre site off Route 6, despite the fact an official application has yet to be submitted by Westrock Development.

“It’s too big, too much traffic. I can’t support it,” Puglisi said. “I’ve given it a lot of thought. Everywhere I go people are talking about and 85 to 90 percent are against it.”

Puglisi also cited noise pollution, competition to existing grocery stores and the uncertainty of a traffic signal being installed at the Baker Street intersection as other issues that concern her about Walmart moving across the street from its current 144,000-square-foot location.

“If they were fixing the hill, but they’re not fixing the hill. They’re maybe putting up a traffic signal and calling it a day,” she said. “In Fishkill (the closest Walmart Supercenter), it’s a 10-lane highway. This is four lanes.”

Councilman Richard Becker was not in attendance but Puglisi said he gave her permission to say publicly he was also opposed to the project. Councilmen John Sloan and Frank Farrell expressed their reservations as well.

“I’ve tried to imagine the new Metro North parking lot (730 spaces) on the Walmart site. It’s pretty big,” Farrell said. “[Walmart] also [doesn’t] seem to be the best corporate citizen.”

Only Councilwoman Ann Lindau refrained from stating her position, but said “without this, we’re not getting the Baker Street light and we’re not getting sewers.”

The wooded property is currently split-zoned, with 26.5 acres zoned residential in the rear and 9.5 acres zoned commercial in the front. For the project to be built, the town board would have to approve a change in the town’s zoning map. The planning board would also do an in-depth review.

Westrock has an application for a 95,000-square-foot commercial development on the front of the parcel pending before the town but has not moved forward with it. Several other proposals have been considered in the past, including a hotel.

David Steinmetz, the lead attorney on the Walmart project for Westrock, said he was hopeful his client would still get a fair shot.

“I would certainly hope that the officials of the Town of Cortlandt would keep an open mind and evaluate any application fairly and properly in accordance with the law,” Steinmetz said. “We continue to believe the town’s best opportunity to secure the infrastructure improvements that it wants and desperately needs is with cooperation of projects of our nature.”

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