Uticans split over banana splits: The Common Council votes on rezoning East Utica Stewart's location


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Common Council votes against rezoning the East Utica Stewart's Shop location 7:2 Wednesday night, after hundreds of community members showed up to represent their side.

The debate got heated, after 41 residents stepped up to the podium to voice their opinions about bringing the shop to East Utica. One-by-one people from both East and West Utica expressed their concerns.

Colin Hubbell, a local business owner said a Stewart's would bring more than 40 jobs and and a significant amount of money into the city. "I think if we continue to say no to businesses," Hubbell said. "We're sending a pretty bad message."

Hubbell was one of the many who spoke at the meeting in favor of rezoning in East Utica. While a large amount of people spoke against it, like East Utica home owner, Sam Sardina.

"Stewart's has been stubborn for the location they want," Sam Sardina of Monroe Street said, "There are plenty of locations in the City of Utica that are already zoned."

Chuck Marshall, the real estate representative for Stewart's said now that the vote is decided, the company isn't sure what it will do. He says the original plan was to go through the process simultaneously, building both in East and West Utica. Now that they're not able to expand at the East Utica location, Marshall doesn't know if the company will build on either.

"We look at everything seriously, we believe in the location on Culver Avenue, and if we can work something out we'll try," Marshall said. "But if we would have fit with just the existing commercial property why would we buy existing property? We're a business who wants to spend the least amount of money as possible."

Stewart's still has the option to build on Culver Avenue, they just can't expand into the residential area.

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