Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sebby gets his dander up
That settles it for me, I'm not casting a vote in the upcoming charade of a mayoral election in Middletown.
After a lengthy presentation and public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to allow the construction of a new Rite Aid on the corner of Main and Union Streets.
There was some public support, and support from the business community, but several individual residents stood up and argued against the drive-thru window in the rear of the building which requires changing the grade level of the back parking lot. Construction of that window then requires a tall retaining wall running nearly the entire length of Union Street. Residents also noted that allowing the exception for the drive-thru downtown opens the door for other businesses to request the same kind of accommodations.
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano spoke passionately in favor of a project he obviously endorses. His right as mayor and resident. But at the end of public comment, he asked the commission's indulgence to speak again. Obviously agitated at the arguments made by residents against the wall, the parking lot and the drive-thru, he made an intimidating argument to the commission basically telling them that a denial of the special request would likely end up in court with a judgment against the city.
I think the mayor went overboard. His argument had been made earlier, and the objections that the citizens raised were legitimate. After the public spoke, it was up to the commission to make a decision without a reprise scolding from the noticeably upset mayor.