The City of Rochester Zoning Board voted 4-1 last week to allow Aldi to put a grocery store at the corner of North Winton and Blossom roads in the North Winton Village neighborhood. The approval seems to guarantee that the controversial project will be built.
“To my knowledge, we were the last hurdle,” says Zoning Board member Roseanne Khaleel, who cast the lone vote against the project.
The Aldi proposal divided residents in the North Winton Village and Browncroft neighborhoods. Some say that the project is too big and out of step with the urban-village feel of the area. Other residents like the idea of a discount grocer within walking distance of their homes.
Khaleel cited several reasons for her opposition. It’s becoming an unfortunate pattern in the city, she says, for people to let their properties deteriorate, waiting on a big-name, moneyed developer to swoop in, buy it, and clean it up. The thinking is that the dilapidated state of the properties will make the city more likely to approve their project, she says.
And the Blossom-North Winton corner is in the city’s most-restricted commercial district, she says, and not meant for a proposal such as Aldi.
Applicants too often come to the board with inferior designs, Khaleel says, and the board must fight to improve the project.
“Good designs are not expected anymore,” she says.
An Aldi representative at last week’s meeting said that the company has made many accommodations, including shrinking the size of the building from more than 18,000 square feet to about 15,600 square feet.
“This is more of a village feel,” said Steve Cleason, an engineer working on the Aldi project.