Ellicott Supervisor On Sam’s Club: ‘Not Optimistic’

The recent announcement that Sam’s Club will be closing later this month was discussed at the town of Ellicott Board meeting on Monday.

Town Supervisor Patrick McLaughlin weighed in on the Sam’s Club closing and said he reached out to Wal-Mart’s administration, the company that owns Sam’s Club, and asked if their was anything the town could do to keep the building operational. After talking with state Sen. Cathy Young as well, McLaughlin said the feeling he was left with “was not optimistic.”

“That’s a large loss of employment,” McLaughlin said.

He referenced three other stores that were closed in Syracuse and Rochester noting that the populations in those cities are much larger than Chautuaqua County. He said it would be much more difficult for him to argue to keep the store open if simultaneously larger cities are losing stores as well.

Other recent events were discussed, including another fire in the downtown area in the village of Falconer. McLaughlin sympathized with the village and Mayor James Rensel.

“They’ve got their work cut out for them,” he said.

In other news, the board approved the elimination of the planning board. A new board will be created that will serve as the zoning board and the planning board. The new modified board will be made up of five members and two alternates. While McLaughlin admitted there will be “some savings,” he said it wasn’t the primary reason for eliminating the board.

“Planning boards are not required by law in New York state,” he said.

Where as a zoning board would be required in the town of Ellicott, an advisory board like that of the planning board is not. He also said the process for people to be approved to build in the town could take up to three months, a timeframe that he thought was not up to par. He explained that individuals would have to meet with both the zoning board and the planning board, but with the elimination of the latter the boards are now consolidated in to one.

“It is acceptable for the new board to do both duties,” he said.

McLaughlin said the goal of the new board is to avoid the way business was handled with the two former boards.

“I think the new attitude for this new board has to be, ‘the town of Ellicott is open for business,'” he said.

McLaughlin also noted that smaller municipalities quite often don’t even have planning boards. The board also acknowledged there was a time that Ellicott functioned without a planning board in the past. The new board members, with double obligations, will be paid $20 per meeting instead of $10 per meeting.

“I don’t think cost factor is the main thing we should be looking at,” Councilman Patrick Tyler said. “It’s the efficiency of town government in the town of Ellicott to promote people to come to the town and want to do business with the town.”