It's been seven years since Ellicott Town Board officials faced the tough decision of whether or not to rezone the Fairmount Avenue Plaza to allow a big box store to locate on the site.
Ellicott residents on both sides of the issue flooded the Town Board's meetings to make their voices heard. Eventually, the board turned down the proposal to rezone the area and decided to undertake a comprehensive plan to help board members decide where to push for new development. Among its development objectives was to encourage development along the town's three exchanges with Interstate 86 - Strunk Road, North Main Street on the town's border with Jamestown and in Falconer - much as was requested by so many town residents during the debate over the big box store.
Now, town officials are taking that idea a step further. Board members hired Retail Attractions LLC to see if there is a need for more retail business in the town and where those businesses should be located, with an eye toward the interstate. Cecil Miller, town supervisor, says the study will give the town a framework to work with when town officials are dealing with developers who want to move into Ellicott.
Given the way municipal boundaries fall, such a study should probably involve the entire Lakewood, Ellicott, Busti and Jamestown area. However, Ellicott's handling of the issue is good for town residents as town officials look for ways to increase the town's tax base. It is a proactive approach that allows the town to be quickly responsive to developers and should be encouraged throughout the area.