The City of Troy, New York, "Where Henry Hudson Turned Around."

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Are pharmacies the new Walmart?

We received six or seven e-mails on this topic, all included the link to the on-line petition.

In short, from the TU Local Politics Blog:

There’s an online petition drive going on in Troy to get the city Planning Board to stop the proposed construction of a Rite-Aid at 272-282 Hoosick St.

The petition opposes demolishing five craftsman bungalows and a former fraternity house, which some believe was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

The agenda is available online at

The On-Line Petition now includes almost 300 signatures. The meeting is tonight at 6:00PM. Afterwards, everyone is walking over to Dave Mitchell's house for coffee.

Some of the comments on the Petition:

"Residents choose to live here because of the unique character of Troy; please do not turn us into another Colonie/Albany big box sprawl."

"There are many reasons for opposing this project and all start with not having a plan that includes the regions past, present and future. The economic development of the city must take into consideration the economic engine that our historic nature will provide now and in the future."

"Rite Aid has a history of abandoning buildings in Troy: Don't let them do it again!"

"I welcome development in Troy that is consistent with our goals for supporting the long term health of our city. We need to stand by our zoning overlays or development plans where we have them. Recent, large development projects are proof that developers are willing to work in and with Troy. "

"First, no more catering to the war between big box drug stores; they have more than enough locations, and we have more than enough drug stores. Second, no more demolition of intact historic homes. Third, no more allowing the waterfront to be used for such purposes. Lastly, while I appreciate Dunkin Donuts @ Broadway & Fourth for having blended into our historic streetscape voluntarily, since most corporate businesses won't, pass mandatory design standards so that they have to. And don't worry about them deciding against it; they've already spent thousands on research that has told them they will make money here or they wouldn't be looking to open shop here. Thank you. "

"The "drive-thru" drive-way that would be located along the north side of the proposed RiteAid would be located at the base of a retaining wall seperating it from the sidewalk on Hoosick St. thus creating a physical and visual barrier between Hoosick St. and the building. This is a suburban, not an urban, design which clearly contrary to the letter and spirit of the Hoosick St. Overlay District. Similarly, the building design does not follow the two-story requirement and its cheap vinyl exterior and suburban design does not blend with Troy's historic character and does not follow the architectural guidelines of the Overlay District. I ask that the Planning Board deny the application untill and unless the applicant abides by the 10' setback guideline, agrees to build a true two-story structure with offices on the 2nd Floor and submit plans for a brick/stone building with storefronts along Hoosick and Burdett Streets that are directly and freely accessible from the sidewalks of the above-mentioned streets."

We don't have a dog in this fight but a few observations:

Feel free to correct us but it's not "another Rite-Aid." The current Rite-Aid would move into the new space. As for "not needing" another pharmacy? With some reasonable limitations, business should make that decision for themselves and are free to open or close as they see fit. It's not a corporation's duty to "care about the community." A corporation's single duty is to make money for it's shareholders. That said, smart corporations do reach out to work with the community and contribute to the community because it's good business in the long run.

Troy re-elected Mayor Tutunjian by a landslide. He has had four years to implement a comprehensive plan to deal with this type of issue. He has failed and the result is a hodge-podge of commercial development that will adversely effect some of the more delightful neighborhoods while offering zero benefits to distressed neighborhoods. The Mayor recently stated that they've used parts of the proposed comprehensive plan. Using parts of a comprehensive plan is....not comprehensive.

The Mayor gets a woody when a private developer unveils a few high-end condos or apartments. Then, he turns a blind eye to the health and quality of life in existing neighborhoods. We have nothing against Dual-Income-No -Kids couples moving into over-priced lofts. What Troy desperately needs is young families with school-age children that will participate in and strengthen the school district. That requires a sensitivity to those neighborhoods where young families will live. Wolf Road-style development creeping east, up Hoosick Street will detrimentally impact some of the better neighborhoods for young families.

Good Luck.

UPDATE: 324 signatures as of 4:43 P.M. 12/13/2007

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