CATSKILL — The Village Planning Board unanimously approved a site plan on Monday for a new Stewart’s Shop at the corner of West Main and West Bridge street.
The site is currently home to Mountain T-Shirts but a new 3,996-square-foot building and four gas pumps will be installed in its place.
The public hearing on the project, originally scheduled for March 23, was postponed to April 20 due to COVID-19. The hearing was held by teleconference.
Over 80 residents participated in the public hearing, Village President Vincent Seeley said.
Residents could either ask their question over the phone or text their question to a board member.
“For me, the texting and asking questions ahead of time are good for people who are reluctant to speak during a meeting,” Seeley said. “This new meeting medium allows more people to be heard because they may feel more comfortable not speaking in front of a crowd.”
Village planners requested some design changes, Planning Board Chairman Patrick McCulloch said.
“The original project was too modern for that area of the village,” he said. “It was a peaked roof building. It just didn’t fit. We had them change the entire building.”
The board also requested some exterior lighting modifications, McCulloch said.
Other changes include smaller signage, reducing the number of pumps from six to four and sidewalks, Seeley said.
“The great part of a project like this is it really pushes us to reimagine sections of Catskill and how they fit into a larger picture while still retaining our history and natural beauty,” he said. “We must continue to grow our economic base with viable, profitable, and well managed businesses.”
Cone E Island Ice Cream across the street will remain, Seeley said.
Residents have expressed concern with increased traffic and with the store being in a floodplain, McCulloch said.
“The gas tanks are what they are,” McCulloch said.
The Greene County Highway Department has two aboveground tanks across the street and the marina on West Main Street also had gas tanks, McCulloch said.
“They are double-walled fiberglass tanks,” he said. “They have shear valves to prevent gas from leaking out.”
Creighton Manning performed a traffic study and is recommending the light at the intersection be adjusted to minimize any traffic impact, McCulloch said.
Several state agencies have reviewed the proposal including the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation and Office of Historic Preservation, McCulloch said.
The state agencies determined the project would have no impact on the community, McCulloch said.
In SHPO’s response, the agency noted the adjacent Cornelius Dubois House, which is eligible to be listed on national and state historic registries.
“It is the opinion of the SHPO that the proposed project will have no adverse impact to historic and cultural resources,” according to the correspondence dated Feb. 24. “In addition, there are no archaeological concerns associated with this project.”
Seeley believes that the new store is step in the right direction for Catskill’s future, he said.
“We would like to thank the Stewart’s corporation and their team for staying the course with us in these uncertain times,” Seeley said. “We are confident that they will be a great partner in our ever improving village. Catskill continues to be a solid investment for residential and commercial properties and all indicators point us towards a boom in the coming year, we just need to work together to get through this and move on in a post-COVID world.”
Seeley is hopeful that the project will be completed by September, he said.