After concrete planter decision, Watertown woman now wants a say over sidewalk

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 5:53 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A Watertown woman doesn’t want a sidewalk on her property and refers to a decision earlier this week by city council to remove new concrete planters in front of downtown’s KeyBank. She’s asking: if the KeyBank building owners can decide what goes in front of their property, why can’t she?

In all the years she has lived on Seward Street, June Stanuch has never had a sidewalk. Now, the city is looking to put one in.

“I think it’s not hard for me to say I do not want or need one,” she said.

Stanuch says it’s not necessary. It would shrink her front yard, and take away from extra parking she likes to have during the holidays.

“Especially when my children come and stay the night. In the winter they can’t park on the street when they stay overnight so where would that leave them,” she said.

Stanuch has likened her situation to the concrete planters in front of KeyBank. Already installed, council decided this week to remove them because the property owners want more parking.

Stanuch wonders if they can decide the fate of a planter, why can’t she decide the fate of a sidewalk?

Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith believes council is making the wrong decision by pulling out the planters.

“How are you going to now say to this woman and her sidewalks, “Well, we did it for the developers but we aren’t going to do it for you,’” he said.

Council Member Sarah Compo-Pierce wants Stanuch to compromise with the planning department but also worries about playing favorites.

“When you’re representing residents in the city, everybody’s issue has to be treated equally. It’s critical,” she said.

Council Member Lisa Ruggiero, who voted to go back and remove the planters, says removing the planters will help with parking downtown. She hopes Stanuch’s situation can be solved with help from the planning department.

Stanuch’s meeting with the city planning department is expected to happen soon to see whether or not her lawn remains or a sidewalk is put in.