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Neighbor to potential East Utica Stewart's shop weighs in on debate

By ALLISON NORLIAN

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Common Council has picked June 11 as a public hearing date to vote on whether to bring a Stewart's shop to East and West Utica; a day Megan Wickham, a Utica resident, cannot wait for.

Wickham lives on Allen Street right next to where the new Stewart's shop would be placed. Her home is directly next to the house that would be leveled in order to build the shop. The debate is ongoing about whether or not to change land zoning, so the area that the home resides on, can be built on by Stewart's.  Wickham wants it to stay as is.
 
"It's going to change our outlook on how we live and how we use our yard," Wickham said. "And why we bought the property 10 years ago."
 
Wickham says the shop will bring nothing but more chaos, a bad odor and noise to her now quiet street. If and when demolition begins if zoning is passed through, the dumpsters would be put at the end of her driveway. She is nervous for what she believes will be an increase in traffic flow on Culver Avenue, and safety for her 2-year-old and for the other kids who play at Proctor Park.
 
"They are not bringing anything new or exciting to area," Wickham said. "I can walk to Nice and Easy, I can walk to Family Dollar, Parkway Drugs and I can walk to all pizzerias that are around."
 
The city council has also said their peace. According to City Council Member Joe Marino, at last weeks meeting the council voted nine to zero to support no new zoning changes in East Utica.
 
"I'm very confident, you know, I worked hard to explain to people and council members that no new zoning is the proper way to run this neighborhood," Marino said. "I mean the city cant keep dictating how these neighbors are going to live their lives."
 
If the council votes down the zoning change at the public hearing, there will be no Stewart's shops coming to East Utica.
 
 
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