The Honesdale Borough Council has made its decision on the CVS Pharmacy project.
By a 4-3 vote Monday, the council gave approval for CVS to proceed with its 4th and Main Street project.
We have said all along this vote was premature and believe the four who voted in favor of moving ahead made a mistake.
However, democracy took place on Monday night and CVS now has its approval.
In many ways, that's how the system is supposed to work. There are differing views, a lot of discussion and then a vote is taken.
The problem with this issue is much of that discussion has taken place out of the eye of the public.
The icing on the cake came when an illegal meeting was held recently to discuss the CVS project. There was a quorum of council members present yet the meeting was never advertised.
It should be noted here that councilman Bob Jennings did question council president F.J. Monaghan about the quorum at the start of the meeting. That's when Monaghan announced there would be no formal action at the meeting.
Somehow, apparently, he thought that was good enough to conduct a meeting which was against the law.
It was not.
But that is now water under the bridge because the council has given approval to CVS to move forward with its project.
Now, it is CVS which must show dedication to this community and put its money where its mouth is, making sure the 4th and Main intersection is fixed properly.
Council could have forced them to do that but instead approved a developer's agreement which states CVS will operate in good faith and seek PennDOT approval of redesigning the intersection.
That does not, however, guarantee the intersection will be fixed.
What the council basically did was turn over the property of the people and put it into the hands of a private business.
Sometimes action like that doesn't turn out very well.
CVS officials assured members of the council they would work to correctly change the intersection. But they also said PennDOT has the final approval and if that doesn't happen, the original CVS plan will be implemented. CVS would be held to no harm.
That would be a huge mistake.
Unfortunately, the people representing CVS don't have to travel on that intersection each day. They don't see the backups down Main Street, up 191 and Terrace Street.
The woman representing CVS throughout the negotiations lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and the real estate developer for CVS lives in Woonsocket, R.I.
Page 2 of 2 - It makes many local people nervous that the borough council left the final say up to those people instead of doing things the right way and making sure the borough had the final say.
We have nothing against CVS and think they will do very well at the new location. It's why they have worked so hard to secure that location.
Now CVS, which is a Fortune 500 company that has billions of dollars in assets, must show it will be a good community partner.
Not only do they need to abide by the agreement signed with the borough, they need to go above and beyond. They need to keep the public advised every step of the way as they move ahead on the project.
They need to tell us when they make the real estate transaction to purchase the small piece of land at 4th and Main. They need to tell us when they present the new proposal to PennDOT.
They need to tell us what PennDOT is saying about a timeframe.
The trust of public safety is now in the hands of CVS and they must do everything possible to make sure that trust is earned.
CVS has always been a good business in the Honesdale community and there's no reason that will change.
But a new standard has been set with the recent controversy surrounding this project and that matters. The public deserves to know the lay of the land.
As for borough council, some members need to stop and reflect a little bit on why certain issues are pushed so hard.
What are the real motivations? Who are the players? Why are they pushing? How much money is involved?
These are real questions and members of the council need to ask them every time something like this arises. Just because some developer or money person wants something, that doesn't make it right.
If Joe Schmo wanted to open a small shop, the influence just wouldn't be the same.
And that's not right.
Council members are elected to serve all of the people. That is their number one duty and it should be taken very seriously.
You don't own borough hall, we do.