What will happen at the intersection of 4th and Main streets in the borough remains unclear.
— What will happen at the intersection of 4th and Main streets in the borough remains unclear.
Following a meeting last week which was unadvertised by the borough but had a quorum of members, much discussion has taken place about the proposed CVS Pharmacy project as well as the intersection.
It has also been learned that the consulting firm for CVS did approach an area landowner about purchasing a small amount of property at the intersection so it could be redesigned.
However, that information did not come out at last week's meeting.
It did come out on Friday during an interview with Tom Shepstone, a consultant working for the Zaremba Group which represents CVS. (Sheptsone is not a developer in the project as was incorrectly reported last week.)
The major issue surrounding the project has to do with the intersection — which is the busiest in Wayne County.
CVS is proposing to add a third lane to Main Street with the center lane going across the 4th Street intersection into the new CVS location. That would mean chopping off two feet of the existing right turning lane.
However, Shepstone said the plan would be to add four feet to the lane on 4th Street, meaning it would be wider overall. CVS officials also said they are proposing moving the "stop bar"on 4th Street back about 25 feet toward the railroad tracks. That would allow for large trucks to make the turn off of Main to 4th.
But that solution doesn't work for at least two council members as well as with the borough's hired engineer.
Harry DeVrieze, chairman of the planning and zoning committee, said because he only came onto the council in recent months, he was "left out of the loop" on the project.
But DeVrieze says he has opinions on the intersection and thinks it needs to be done right the first time.
"It is the best option," said DeVrieze of reengineering the intersection and taking a small portion of the Meagher parking lot in order for trucks to better make that turn.
During the meeting last week, CVS officials said they would be willing to set aside money to fix the intersection with that option — but only after their option is tested for a set amount of time.
DeVrieze says he cannot support that concept.
"If they were willing to set aside the money in an account, if they were willing to do that, then they should spend the money now and do it right," he said.
DeVrieze said if the borough waits a year, it's possible the intersection would never be fixed correctly and he believes now is the time to get it done.
Mary Bogart of Bogart Engineering, who represents the borough in the matter, agrees, saying now is the time to get it fixed properly.
She did point out that PennDOT has given approval to the current CVS proposal for the intersection, but says that doesn't mean it should be implemented.
Bogart said PennDOT generally takes the position that if work is done and "it doesn't make it worse," then they give approval.
"It doesn't work now," said Bogart. "The borough has the ability to fix it."
Bogart said the reason the intersection is crucial is that it is tied to the entire land development project for that area. She said one of the conditions of getting the project approved by the borough is to get a driveway approval from PennDOT.
She also noted the borough council has the final say in the matter because it holds the traffic signal permit.
Sheptsone said CVS believes the current proposal is sufficient.
"We are not convinced they need it," he said of using part of the Meagher property to fix the intersection. "I think it would be better to test this out."
But Sheptsone also said they have approached Paul Meagher, Sr., about purchasing a small amount of land. He also said there are drawings which have been completed to do that option. Though more engineering needs to be done, he did say most of it is completed.
None of that was revealed during last week's meeting even though Shepstone and various representatives of CVS and their consulting firm were on hand.
Meagher said on Monday he was approached by the company representing CVS. That, he said, was about six months ago.
He said "we agreed to sell them a very small piece" of the property but he hasn't heard from them "since that time."
Meagher also emphasized it's not about selling the property, it's about seeing progress in Honesdale.
"Our position is that we would like to see something happening across the street," said Meagher. "It is good for the community."
Sheptsone said Friday that CVS is willing to foot the bill to fix the intersection by purchasing the land. However, he also said they want the borough to go ahead and give its approval to the current proposal so the project can move forward.
He said the borough could give approval and then request a change of the intersection "the next day" if they wanted.
But that doesn't fly with Bob Jennings, chairman of the borough's safety committee.
Jennings said his position is nothing should be approved until a new plan is submitted to PennDOT, with maps and all of the legal documents, and then it is approved.
"I want it done right," said Jennings. "I will fight for that. I want it out in the open with no secret deals and no secret meetings. It's the principle here."
DeVrieze indicated he wants the same thing.
"I won't vote for it if it is presented like it was at the last meeting," said DeVrieze of the current CVS plan for the intersection.
At that meeting, the issue of CVS was put on the agenda but the matter was tabled without discussion. No explanation was given as to why there was no discussion.
When asked if he knew about last week's meeting which was not advertised, DeVrieze said, "I was aware of the meeting when it was happening."
DeVrieze said he received a call from finance committee chairman Scott Smith asking if he was going to attend the meeting.
He asked when the meeting was going to be held and was told it was about to begin. DeVrieze was on scaffolding at residence in The Hideout at the time.
Jennings said that cuts right to the heart of the issue, saying the deals have been made in secret and that is a disservice to the citizens.
"There is no way there will be any deals by me unless this is by the book," said Jennings.
DeVrieze said he believes the borough was not informed about the possibility of CVS purchasing land from Meagher because that would have been the more expensive alternative.
He believes they tried to "push this through at the last minute for the money," saying it is the more expensive alternative.
That, however, should not be a factor, he said.
"You are affecting tens of thousands of people every day," he said.
He also pointed out that if the borough agreed to try the alternative proposed by CVS, the intersection may never be fixed properly.
"Once it goes through, the borough's stuck with it," said DeVrieze.
He said if there are no major accidents reported in a set time period, CVS could counter that it's working and would not pay to have the intersection done the way he believes it should be at this time.
DeVrieze added that borough council should not rush to make a decision just so "one person" can make a land transaction with CVS.
Land developer Steve Putzi was at the meeting last week but did not speak.
The issue is scheduled to be on the agenda for the next monthly borough meeting. That meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at borough hall.