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Briarcliff Business Owners Fear New CVS Proposal

BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. -- Philip Zegarelli wants Briarcliff Manor residents to know that no decisions have been made on a proposal to bring a new CVS to the Chilmark Shopping Center.  That hasn’t stopped local business owners from worrying, however.

“There will come a time, after everyone has been heard, where there will be a recommendation and decision, but we’re not there yet,” the village Manager said Friday. “There are so many, as you would expect, different opinions on how this should be addressed. Should the site be upgraded to make the area more marketable? And in doing that is there a cost to the neighbors as a result of that? There may come a time where it’s hard to reconcile both, but that’s down the road.”

Connecticut-based developer Urstadt Biddle has proposed placing a 13,000-square foot CVS pharmacy in the shopping center along Pleasantville Road. Zegarelli said residents and planning board members have had “numerous discussions” on the issue asking many questions.

Several Chilmark Shopping Center business owners say if the proposal is ultimately approved, it could mean the end for their businesses.

“What I think doesn’t matter because the landlord wants to bring it here,” said Prescription Plus Owner Syed Rahman, noting that an estimated 80 percent of his merchandise would also be available at the CVS. “We sell almost the exact same thing. But we don’t have a competitive clause in our agreement so the choice is to either leave or stay here and die.”

Relocating might not be an option for Rahman, who said he’s owned the business through ups and downs for the last 12 years.

“If they come here, we’re out of business,” he said. “It’s very difficult because there isn’t space (15,000-square feet) in this neighborhood. There’s no space to go around here.”

Brittany Scheflen, manager of the PostAll Center at the Chilmark Shopping Center, which sells postal goods and provides shipping and mail services, said she too feels that her options are limited.

“A CVS coming in here would greatly affect us because they have a lot of the same supplies we do,” Scheflen said. “We’d try to stay competitive with the prices, but something that big that offers prescriptions as well, and a big name, it would hurt us a lot.”

Zegarelli said the proposed CVS raises many issues and village officials are considering them all.

“From the village’s point of view and the planning board’s, they’ve spent numerous hours trying to lasso the overall component parts and all of these different opinions on it,” he said. “And then they have to measure that with both nearby residents and other village residents as to what the effects are. Obviously it’s going to affect a lot of people so it’s a careful process.”

The planning board is considering the State Environmental Quality Review before making any recommendations to the village board. The planning board could discuss the item again during its Jan. 10, 2012 regular meeting. Once the planning board makes its recommendations, Zegarelli said the village board would then need to make a final determination.

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