The applicant required a special permit and variance reliefs for site layout, landscaping plan, roof design, lighting and signs.
What’s unusual is that the project is a two-owner, three-property development and redevelopment that involves the Shell service station at 446 Station Ave. and the Sunoco service station at 433 Station Ave. According to the Zoning Board of Appeals special permit authorization, the project will include the “closing and decommissioning of outdated nearby fuel stations.”
Another gas station, a Mobil station, is separate from the plans and nearby at Whites Path and Station Avenue.
The old Shell station, built in 1960, is a 3-bay service station with two underground tanks. One tank holds 32,000 gallons of fuel and the other 2,000 gallons. This station is slated to be closed, with the tanks, building and asphalt removed, and it will be turned into a green space, according to the board’s decision. However, the decision allowed for the possibility of development in the future depending on factors including whether a sewer line comes through.
The old Sunoco station, built in 1950, is a 2-bay service station with two underground tanks. One tank holds 24,000 gallons of fuel and the other 2,000 gallons. The station is owned by Petro Realty Corp. The tanks are slated to be removed, according to the board’s April decision. Attorney Andrew Singer, who represents Colbea Enterprises, said the applicant and the Sunoco station owner signed a private contract to remove the two Sunoco tanks after the new gas station is up and running. There is no copy of the agreement on file with the town.
Dr. Warren Woods, who owns Woods Orthodontics at 495 Station Ave., opposed the project at two public hearings. He said there was no written agreement provided to the board at the second hearing.
New service station on Station Avenue is in aquifer protection district
The parcel is the only undeveloped land in the town's B1 business zone and aquifer protection district. Woods claims the town doesn’t need another gas station on Station Avenue. He said town zoning laws prohibit gas stations in the town’s aquifer protection zone.
“Why is this board willing to put the water supply at risk?” he asked in a phone interview on Tuesday. “I just think it's too dangerous for the town.”
Town bylaws citing “the groundwater water underlying this town is the sole source of its existing and future water supply” were included in the board's decision.
Colbea argued that the project would reduce the environmental threat to the aquifer by the closing of the two outdated stations, according to paperwork filed with the town. In the documents, the applicant claimed the fuel stored would decrease by 28%, the number of underground fuel storage tanks would be reduced, and two new state-of-the-art double walled tanks would be installed. The closing and decommissioning of the tanks would occur after the new station is up and running.
Karen Greene, the town director of community development, did not respond to requests for information on Tuesday and Wednesday. Steven DeYoung, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, didn't immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for additional information.
Denise Coffey writes about business and tourism. Contact her at email@example.com.