A proposal for a McDonald’s on the corner of Hoosick Street and 15th Street has created a schism among Troy residents. Although the idea has not technically been released publicly, many are already organizing an effort against what they view to be a terrible idea.
Opponents of the proposal have based their argument on several main points. For one, they believe that McDonald’s should not be authorized for construction, as the most recent design would require several waivers regarding building codes in Troy. The city requires that buildings are to have at least two floors, must be set off from the street, and should provide multiple uses. The McDonald’s under consideration would not follow any of these guidelines, and residents claim that the business should not be allowed to “ignore” them. Democratic District 3 candidate Russell Ziemba commented further on the issues, saying, “The zoning calls for buildings to be two or more usable stories, set out to the sidewalk or within 10 feet of it, covering 50 percent or more of the building lot, [and have] parking in the rear. The materials to be used for exteriors should be the ones traditionally used in Troy commercial buildings: brick, or stone, or wood.”
Critics have also commented on the potential effects the restaurant may have on traffic. The intersection in question, they state, already experiences heavy traffic, and the addition of a McDonald’s would simply complicate the situation further.
Proponents, on the other hand, maintain that a McDonald’s would bring business to an area of the city that, they claim, needs the economic stimulus. They state that the restaurant would bring in approximately 70 full and part-time jobs. These jobs would be available to residents of Troy, supporters mention, cutting down on the city’s unemployment rate.
Another argument they make is that the area, as it stands, is an empty lot. Placing a McDonald’s on the location could result in increased revenue for the city, as the restaurant would have to pay property taxes as well as sales tax. These economic benefits, they believe, more than justify the zoning waivers. Republican mayoral candidate Carmella Mantello summarized this position by saying, “Developers large and small are willing to compromise on signage, landscaping, and other amenities to fit into a neighborhood or along a corridor. There are always middle grounds, and I believe that there is certainly a middle ground with the developer in this case.”
Troy residents would not be the only individuals affected, though. As Rensselaer student Anasha Cummings ’12 mentioned, many people enter RPI through the intersection of Hoosick and 15th. The potential increase in traffic could present issues for those traveling to and from the Institute. Also, reflecting the sentiments of both student and resident opposition, he mentioned that placing a McDonald’s at that particular intersection would not have a positive impact on the area’s image.
It appears that, if the proposed McDonald’s were designed similarly to Pizza DaVinci, which is across the intersection from the land under dispute, many residents would not be as resistant to the idea. Others, though, insist that the land go to a smaller Troy-based business to “keep the money in Troy.” The debate will most likely continue, however. As McDonald’s representative Nicole DiNoia said, things are “still in the planning and assessment stages.”