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Residents object to gas station/coffee shop in town of Wellsville

Photo by Kathryn Ross

The proposed site for a combined Quicklee’s and Tim Hortons is located in an unzoned, mixed-use residential and business area along Route 417 in the town of Wellsville.


WELLSVILLE — It wasn’t all coffee and “Welcome to the neighborhood” when town of Wellsville residents told the town board Dec. 14 they don’t want a Quicklee’s/Tim Hortons in their backyard.

The board’s agenda, published prior to the meeting, called for discussion of the Quicklee’s site plan, a response to the findings of the Allegany County Planning Board and a negative declaration to the environmental impact statement. That brought out about a dozen area residents who stated they object to the location of a gas station in their mixed residential/business neighborhood, known locally as Morningside.

The planned location of Quicklee’s and Tim Hortons is on the former site of a manufacturing facility off Route 417 and across from the Wellsville Plaza. Numerous stores and fast-food restaurants are presently located in the plaza. On the same side of the roadway as the proposed Quicklee’s, a Walgreens Pharmacy drive-thru was recently constructed and opened, and several other businesses are located in the vicinity.

The mixed-use area is not zoned because there is presently no zoning throughout the town of Wellsville, except in the village proper, which lies within the town.

The group, led by one of the business owners, objected to the installation of inground fuel tanks that could possibly rupture and contaminate local water wells. There is a village water district in the area to which many Morningside residences are connected.

Increased truck traffic was also a concern, while opponents also argued that procedural regulations had not been followed by the board.

Led by Town Supervisor Shad Alsworth, the town board defended against allegations that it had turned a deaf ear to residents’ concerns. He said the board had listened, which resulted in a planning board study, a traffic study, and several changes to the site plan.

Quicklee’s first approached the town in early 2020 about building a gas station and coffee shop on the Babbitting Service site, which was for sale at the time. Plans called for the demolition of the buildings then on the site, including a residential building. Construction was to begin in late summer 2021.

In Wednesday’s discussion, the board learned that Quicklee’s had submitted a new site plan that shifts the development 20 feet east, closer to the Walgreens building, and moved the plan for the underground pipes. The New York Department of Transportation will be contacted about the location of pipes next to a residence.

Alsworth said the county planning board addressed four concerns and concluded that there is negative environmental impact. It addressed:

  • Safety of bike and pedestrian traffic along Route 417. A sidewalk will be installed.
  • Narrow egress for trucks entering Quicklee’s. The company will not sell diesel fuel for tractor-trailer rigs. Existing traffic turn lanes should address the problem of entering the lot.
  • An existing manufacturing facility near the rear of the property will not be impacted.
  • Floodplain. After consulting with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and DOT it was determined there will be no significant impact on the floodplain.

As for procedural matters, while the citizens objected, the board contended that the protestors misunderstood the requirements and that all procedural requirements had been followed according to law.

“We wouldn’t have looked into addressing these concerns if you hadn’t brought them to us,” Alsworth told residents. “I want to commend you for doing that.”

While opponents of the project asked the board to declare a moratorium on construction to allow the board to look into zoning the area, board members declined. A plan to bring zoning into the town would require a public hearing and vote, to which former town supervisor and long-time town board member Dar Fanton, now an advisor, said, “I would not support putting zoning in the town of Wellsville.”

As the Quicklee’s discussion subsided, Alsworth told the concerned residents that all the information from the site plan to the findings of the county planning board and the town board’s decisions are available to them.

When departing one of the protestors muttered, “This isn’t over yet.”