CATSKILL — With demolition complete on Mountain T-Shirts on the corner of West Main Street and West Bridge Street for a new Stewart’s and another gas station proposal under review by the village Zoning Board of Appeals, some residents are wondering how many gas stations Catskill needs.
A new Sunoco station proposed by Gas Land Inc., if approved, will join the ranks of the Speedway, Cumberland Farms and Asads Gas on Route 9W. On Route 23, another Sunoco Station and a Valero sit on opposite sides of the highway.
Village President Vincent Seeley addressed these concerns Wednesday,
“I do hear the ‘why do we need another gas station, pizza place or Chinese food place, etc,’” Seeley said. “My response is that any business that fits our zoning has done their market research, has a solid business plan, has the capital and wants to be part of our growing community; let’s get them to the table. What if the next business born in Catskill becomes the next Pizza Hut, Domino’s or P.F. Chang’s and they build their corporate headquarters here?”
Following the public hearing at the zoning board last week, the board has 62 days to decide whether to grant a variance to Gas Land, Village Trustee Joseph Kozloski said.
“If they get the variance, they go back to the planning board,” he said.
The village also contacted the county planning board for input because the project is near a major highway, he said.
“We always ask opinions on projects like that; it doesn’t mean we have to follow the recommendation,” he said.
The village will be bringing in its own engineering firm to review the plans, Seeley said.
“This location, if approved, would be the only gas station on the right-hand side going northbound from Saugerties to Ravena,” he said. “This is important because northbound cars now have to wait, hold up traffic just to get across several lanes of traffic in some cases. Not to mention the northbound vehicles that need to make a mad dash across the highway.”
The project needs the variance because the property, which is home to Cats Rental, an equipment rental company, is not zoned for a gas station, Kozloski said.
“There was a one family house, where a lady owns a sewing business and a small building for equipment rentals,” he said.
The buildings would be taken down to construct a new 2,175-square-foot gas station/convenience store. Gas Land is proposing three pumps, Seeley said. An issue that came up at the July 29 hearing was an aquifer that runs underground, Kozloski said.
“They may have to contend with that, we don’t know,” he said, adding that soil samples will have to be taken.
Residents at lower elevations were concerned about the effect the project could have on their water, he said.
“When the state did work on 9W it changed the way underground water ran,” he said. “People who had very little water in their basement now have a lot of water.”
The company has done a preliminary traffic study, which the village is waiting to receive results on, Kozloski said.
“Traffic is definitely an area we are going to focus on, and we will use this opportunity to discuss stop lights and turning lanes with the state Department of Transportation,” Seeley said.
The former Mountain T-Shirts shop was nothing but rubble on Wednesday. Cone E Island Ice Cream across the street will remain.
Village planners approved the site plan for the new 3,996-square-foot Stewart’s Shop and two gas pumps in May.
The project is on schedule to be completed in October, Seeley said.