LIVINGSTON — A convenience store chain planning to build a new gas station at the corner of the Bells Pond intersection announced Wednesday it will market and sell the Xtra Mart gas station across the street once it is vacated and the new station is built.
The gas station proposal by Global Partners at the northern end of the intersection of Routes 9, 9H and 23, consolidates three parcels to create a 3.08-acre lot to accommodate a 24-hour gas station, convenience store and an Alltown Fresh café.
Measuring 4,800 square feet, the proposed combination of a convenience store, cafe and gas station raised concerns from residents about what will happen to the Xtra Mart across the intersection, which is also owned by Global Partners and houses the Bells Pond Diner.
Residents got answers at Wednesday’s meeting of the Livingston Planning Board at Livingston Town Hall, 119 County Route 19.
Representatives Global Partners, including engineers and planners, were at the meeting Wednesday after a two-month hiatus. Global Partners operates 70 Alltown Fresh locations and 1,500 Xtra Marts.
Rob Ousterhoudt, project manager with Bohler Engineering, who presented the latest plans at the meeting, said the hiatus was because the applicant was working on adhering to the public’s concerns and planning board requests.
Global Partners submitted additional information, including a wildlife habitat study, sediment control plans, landscaping layouts, a truck-turning movements study, a stormwater solution plan, a traffic study and wetlands assessment report.
The applicant has also presented a full environmental-assessment review, at the request of the Planning Board, Ousterhoudt said. Several residents also made the request at the planning board meeting in March.
Ousterhoudt also took the opportunity to clear up what he called misconceptions from the public.
“The misconception that is floating out there is that this is a truck stop,” Ousterhoudt said. “Along the lines of the parking and fueling that I mentioned, I just want to clarify this is not a truck stop, this is merely a neighborhood market with fuel service, with gasoline and diesel. We have added some truck parking at the planning board’s request to address safety concerns, but there will not be any overnight parking of trucks here. Idling will be limited in accordance with state law. This is not intended to be a truck stop.”
A habitat study found there is a bald eagle habitat at the southern end of Bells Pond, but that habitat is too far away for the proposed gas station to have any impact, Ousterhoudt said. In addition, there are no wetlands on the property.
Once the existing Xtra Mart is vacated, the plan is to remove the canopy and underground tanks and market the property, Ousterhoudt said.
“The fueling infrastructure will be removed from the site, so the tanks will be taken out so if there is any clean up that is required that will be in accordance with DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) requirements,” Ousterhoudt said. “Not only will those items be removed, Global Partners will be putting a deed restriction on that property.”
The deed restriction will not allow the new property owner to build a gas station on the site, he said.
A handful of residents in the audience were still wary about the proposal, and expressed their concerns after Ousterhoudt finished his presentation, including concerns about the proposed café, which some residents referred to as a “restaurant.”
The cafe is not a restaurant, Ousterhoudt said, but it is similar to the existing diner, which will offer healthy food, “on the run” food options, and other typical gas station staples.
“The mobile station that exists right now is the most expensive gas around, go a couple of miles and you save 20 to 30 cents, as you go into Hudson,” resident Melanie Nelson said. “Anyone who has any local knowledge will pass them right up. Now, after you spend the extra money building this whole new project, you can’t be lowering your prices. The gas might be even higher. This is another challenge to success to the project.”
At that point, planning board attorney Ted Hilscher briefly cut off comments from the public, saying the meeting was not intended to become a public hearing.
“If you have questions for the applicant, this is your opportunity,” Hilscher said. “We’re not going to be here until 11 p.m. tonight… This isn’t a public hearing. We will have another public hearing at an appropriate time in the future.”
Livingston Concerned Citizens, a group of residents that has organized and raised concerns about the project, offered at the meeting to upload the latest plans and application materials from Global Partners to its website: https://www.livingstonconcernedcitizens.com/.
Another public hearing will be set at a later date, and a public notice will be made.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.