By KATY SAVAGE
A property owner in Pittsford has filed an Act 250 permit to demolish a vacant two-story home and build a 7,200 square-foot retail store in the village.
The permit, filed July 23, includes the development of 33 parking areas, sidewalks, signage and landscaping.
The 2.7-acre property at 40 Plains Road has seen almost two decades of contention over the development with several projects being rejected by residents and the court in the past.
Property owner Frank Von Turkovich filed an Act 250 permit in 2002 to move the town’s post office to the site, but that permit was contested and ultimately rejected by the environmental court due to concerns that a nearby intersection didn’t have the capacity to accommodate the additional traffic.
“That led to some bad feelings from groups in town,” said Town Manager John Haverstock.
The property then sat vacant for several years before Von Turkovich proposed a new plan for the site in 2016—a Dollar General. That plan was again met with challenges from community members and the developer backed out in 2017.
Von Turkovich and the Dollar General developers approached the town last August and sought a conditional use permit for a substantially renovated Dollar General. Residents appealed again and a public hearing fueled “spirited” discussions, Haverstock said, “with some people advocating for new commercial development and some expressing concerns about the impact on local mom and pops.”
Some were also concerned about the store impacting the character of the neighborhood, Haverstock said. Residents appealed about a year ago and Dollar General backed out again.
Now, Von Turkovich wants to demolish the dilapidated structure himself and construct a retail store without a tenant in mind. The building would have a “flexible” floor plan, according to the Act 250 permit filed July 23, and could be marketed to a variety of commercial tenants.
“Any landowner wants their property to be productive,” said Dave Cooper, a lawyer who spoke on behalf of Von Turkovich. “This piece of property has a long permitting history and this was his last shot because everything he’s tried has been difficult to get in there.”
The development and look of the building was designed with residents’ concerns in mind, according to the permit. The windows were made larger, the trim was changed and the landscaping plans were improved.
The developers are currently waiting to hear a response regarding the permit.