Plans to increase parking at Frosty’s ice cream stand in Depew and add an exit-only drive from the parking area onto Babbette Drive are frosting some residents.
Complaints about Dave Del Carlo’s proposal for his ice cream stand are raising safety concerns among residents who say their neighborhood already suffers traffic congestion. He also is looking to make the exit onto Babbette for right turns only.
But Del Carlo says it’s safety that is driving his Depew proposal because it can be difficult for people to only enter and exit from George Urban Boulevard. “I want to make it safer,” said Del Carlo, owner of both Frosty’s in Depew and on Broadway in the Village of Lancaster.
About 60 residents of Babbette Drive signed a petition and submitted it the village late last summer. Residents were complaining earlier this fall to the Village Board about the proposal, and some said that it had been stipulated by the village that a stretch of land between two homes near Frosty’s could not be developed and that the only access would be from George Urban.
Babbette Drive resident Anita Peterson, who lives about 10 doors away from Frosty’s, and others have openly complained about the plans.
“Our concern as residents was that we want to keep the green space” and prevent resulting traffic-congestion issues, Peterson said.
“We feel it’s a safety issue if he proceeds,” she said. “You can have a real cluster of traffic at our corner. You will have kids riding their bikes and walking. We fear someone will be hit by a car, coming out from getting ice cream.”
Del Carlo said Sunday that he will gain only “a few parking spots” if the plan is approved. He said the chief concern is to limit how much customers have to navigate four lanes of traffic, plus a turning lane, when they now exit his seasonal business onto George Urban.
Del Carlo also says that the proposed exit from his property onto Babbette would be just for exiting and that traffic could only turn right onto Babbette. “This is all about safety. It won’t increase traffic down the road,” he said. “I’m a family-run fun place, and we’re looking for safety. Backing onto George Urban – that’s a risk, no matter what your age.”
In one case last summer, he said, a customer drove through a nearby wooden fence and almost hit a neighboring house. Del Carlo said that many of his customers back out onto George Urban when leaving Frosty’s.
Del Carlo also said it was his understanding that the changes were approved by the village last month.
But that is not the case.
Mayor Steven P. Hoffman said the issue will be aired next by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which will meet later this month. He did say, however, that what Del Carlo proposes “mirrors” what other area businesses do with exiting onto residential streets that are near George Urban.
Frosty’s does not have enough of a setback for the proposed change, so a hardship needs to be proven – thus, the review by the zoning panel, Hoffman said.