At the Town Board meeting last night the Town Board held a public hearing to consider a special permit application from Cumberland Farms Inc to operate a gas station/convenience store. The service bays will be demolished and a 1,697 square foot convenience store will replace the repair station. In addition Cumberland Farms would remove one existing gas dispenser and the related dispenser island. There would be substantial landscaping improvements on the property. The school distict, fire district, town will generate more tax dollars.
THERE IS A CONTROVERY—Some residents pointed out that under the town code if a gas station on Central Ave is closed for more than six months the station loses their right to operate –since gas stations on Central Ave are a non conforming use. The representatives of Cumberland Farms claim that they never intended to discontinue the use of the property as a gas station. They temporarily closed down the station, they say, because they needed to do some remediation on the property. The intent of the owners of the property was to always continue to have a gas station at this location. The Town Attorney’s office and Building Inspector agree with Cumberland Farms interpretation.
MY THOUGHTS—I am speaking personally. There are a number of vacancies on Central Ave. I believe that if we reject the application the property will likely remain vacant for a while. I do not think this is good for property values in the immediate neighborhood. Would you like to live near a boarded up eyesore? I also think that the town should try generating revenue from this property. If the property is developed the town and Edgemont school district will receive needed tax dollars (substantial cuts in services can be expected in the future due to the tax cap). Another concern of mine: the town is trying to encourage new businesses to open up on Central Ave –to replace the vacant stores. If the town turns down this application –will we be sending the wrong message to the potential new tenants that the town is a difficult place to do business in? Will a rejection of this application hurt our efforts to attract new stores to our business districts? Look at the Dilmaghani property (the abandoned spa on Central Ave—it’s been empty for many years). One of the biggest eyesores on Central Ave and in the entire town is the Gulf gas station located at the south east corner of the intersection of Central Park Ave with Old Army Road/Underhill Road. The station has been boarded up and reminds me of the Old South Bronx. Empty buildings do not generate the same revenue to the Edgemont school district, town, fire district as revenue producing buildings.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
I plan to reach out to the immediate neighborhood --- will speak to some of the neighbors who live near the boarded up gas station. I want to hear what they think. I also want to hear what you think. Your thoughts are welcome and appreciated.