A new proposal for an Orchard Park Sam’s Club discount store on Milestrip Road will soon begin a Planning Board review process as it tries to replace a controversial Walmart plan that fizzled a few years ago.
“Our job is to make sure that it’s a legal project,” said Councilman Eugene Majchrzak after the Town Board voted Wednesday to seek lead review agency status for the planned store. He said the Planning Board will be one of the first steps for the project, which was not described in detail at the meeting.
Wal-Mart Stores, which owns both Walmart and Sam’s Club, approached Town Supervisor Patrick Keem earlier this year with its idea for a Sam’s Club store and gas station of 139,000 square feet. It was, Keem said, the first the town has heard from the discount retailer in a few years.
In 2011, the board, which rejected Walmart’s environmental impact statement four times, asked the company for more design adjustments and never heard back.
Now the company is offering to build a road and create a second entry point via South Benzing Road. The short connecter road was one of the Town Board’s requests when it last reviewed the now-defunct plan for a 120,000-square-foot Walmart.
To have the second entry road sounded good to Keem.
“I like it,” he said. “Anything to alleviate traffic.”
In talking with friends and visiting stores, Keem noticed that the Sam’s Club in Cheektowaga had less parking lot trash and seemed like a more palatable alternative.
“You get way less people than you do at a Walmart,” he said.