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Gas station moves ahead despite residents’ concerns

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The Copake Planning Board discusses next steps for the proposed gas station in the town.
June 7, 2019 10:05 pm

Columbia-Greene Media

CRARYVILLE — The plan to build a gas station is moving ahead though some neighbors say the property’s special use permit has expired.

The gas station and convenience store, owned by GRJH, of Millerton, is slated for a 1.7-acre parcel, which was once the site of a supermarket. Plans include constructing a one-story, 3,240-square-foot building with six fuel dispensers at the intersection of Route 7 and Route 23.

For the past several months, the Copake Town Planning Board has sought public comment on the project. The project has met opposition from Save Craryville — a group of several dozen residents who rallied together to fight the proposal.

Planning Board Chairman Robert Haight provided several updates to fellow board members about the project Thursday at the Copake Planning Board meeting at 230 Mountain View Road.

The stormwater prevention plan is being revised and is in the hands of the state. There is no stream or wetlands on the property, he said.

The state Department of Transportation will not install a traffic light at the intersection.

“We can’t tell them to put up a traffic light,” Haight said. “Their engineers looked the thing over and made a decision. As far as we’re concerned, we’re all done with the traffic.”

Zachary Mintz, an attorney for Save Craryville, and his clients raised questions about the expiration of the special use permit for the GRJH gas station.

“At present it is active and valid,” Planning Board Attorney Ken Dow said in response. “It is a valid question but at this time it is a valid and open permit.”

Even if the permit had not expired, the town Zoning Board of Appeals would still need to consider all of the changes to the applications and new potential environmental impacts that had not been originally evaluated, Mintz said. The site plan should go back to the Zoning Board of Appeals so it can re-evaluate now that the town knows the site is located on an aquifer.

Aquifers are valuable for the amount of water that could be stored within them and they can store snowmelt and rainwater for larger water supplies, such as nearby creeks and streams, hydrologist Paul Rubin told the board in April.

Contaminants from high chemical loads, such as gas stations, could degrade the groundwater in the aquifer and stream beds and creeks connected to the aquifer, such as the nearby Taghkanic Creek, he said.

Resident Matthew Rogers said the aquifer beneath the proposed gas station is connected to his home. He vowed to have his water tested if the gas station is built and sue the board if any contaminants from the gas station were not found on his property. After he was told to stop talking when he lobbed obscenities at the board, Rogers stormed out of the meeting.

The public comment period was adjourned until the next meeting.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.