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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wellsville: Court deals blow to Walmart project - Daily Reporter

By Brian Quinn

ROCHESTER — The Appellate Division has reversed a local judge’s ruling upholding the Town of Wellsville’s finding that a proposed Walmart Superstore will have not harm the environment.

The Appellate Division’s ruling Friday was on the appeal of a June 2015 decision by Judge Terrence Parker upholding Wellsville’s negative declaration on the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process. The town’s findings were challenged by the Wellsville Citizens for Responsible Development (WCRD).

“We agree with petitioner (WCRD) that the Town Board failed to take the requisite hard look at the impact of the project on wildlife, the community character of the … Village of Wellsville and surface water and thus that Supreme Court (in Allegany County) erred in denying the petition,” appellate justices wrote in their decision.

Aside from the town of Wellsville, the respondents named in the petition included Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, Wellsville Town Board, Dean Arnold in his capacity as town highway superintendent and the Village of Wellsville.

“Obviously, we’re pleased with the result and feel it vindicates our concerns expressed during the environmental review. WCRD, as it has been throughout, looks forward to remaining an active participant in any future environmental review process Walmart might be looking to restart following the court decision annulling the negative declaration,” said WCRD attorney Parker MacKay.

Wellsville town attorney Michael Finn could not be reached for comment Saturday.

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Appellate Division rules in favor of Wellsville Citizens for Responsible Development in appeal of town environmental review of proposed Walmart project