Saugerties planners consider AutoZone proposal

An artist’s rendering of the proposed AutoZone.

Village Planning Board members seemed wary of a proposal for an AutoZone branch at 298 Ulster Ave., questioning developers on how they would design the building to fit into its suburban surroundings and whether the site’s driveway would worsen traffic conditions in its proximity. Whether or not the addition would jeopardize the “harmony of the village” was discussed at length.

“We really need to see how big this is going to be and how high up it’s going to be,” said board chair Mary Lahey. “For me, that’s a big concern, how it marries with what’s there now. [Considering] the mass of the building and the lighting, I’m just concerned with how it’s married to its environment.”

The storefront of the building would face Ulster Avenue where Route 212 and Route 32 converge, while the CSX railroad tracks bisecting that road would run along its left side and Railroad Avenue would lie to its right. To the right and behind the building are two suburban homes, the latter being taller than the auto parts store’s proposed height. 


“People slow down so much to go over the tracks,” said Lahey. “If you’re sitting there, now you’re waiting for the westbound traffic but as you’re waiting all of these people coming from the eastbound almost come to a roll to go over the tracks. It’s congested right there.”

A vehicular study of the area in 2007 determined that about 35 trains and 12,000 cars pass through the area each day. Twenty years ago, the state Department of Transportation suggested a grade separation, a method of aligning two pieces of road at different heights, to prevent accidents and lessen traffic delays.

Board members were also concerned that the proposed building would look out of place with the taller residential home that would loom above it; foliage options to screen adjacent properties were discussed at length, but the project is not far enough along for developers to know what types of trees would be planted. The prospect of five-gallon shrubs and two- to three-foot trees, which would eventually grow taller, was brought up. Planning board members said that 18 accidents had taken place in the area within six and a half years. Board members said they were concerned about where the site’s driveway would be located, saying that a front-facing one would result in visual obstructions for drivers turning left out of the parking lot.

Copies of the application and plan can be viewed at the village clerk’s office, and the opportunity for
the public to voice their support or concerns for the project is available until the board’s next meeting on June 12, when the project will be discussed next.

There are 4 comments

  1. Edward Tommola

    I’m glad to hear that the planning board is still considering the case of the proposed auto parts store near the Saugerties RR crossing.
    Approval will cause the traffic flow problems to worsen. Already traffic slows for the condition of the crossing. And there are vehicles that MUST stop before crossing. School busses, oil, propane, and gasoline trucks. And any freight vehicle carrying HAZMAT. If approved there will be traffic wanting to turn into the store, and thereby holding traffic stopped. This could cause vehicles to stop on the tracks, which is illegal.
    Then, with such traffic jam already in existence, you must add the occasional emergency vehicles (police, fire and ambulance)…lives depend on getting to the emergency as quickly as possible.
    Don’t make a bad situation worse. Vote against the case of the auto parts store, based on adverse effects on traffic flow.

  2. Local son

    Oh, please. Are you serious? There are stores all along that strip for generations, now this one auto parts store, is going to cause any more traffic then always? Whether they build or not, school buses, and many other vehicles, as always, will still stop before crossing the tracks, the auto parts store will not increase nor change that, at all. Trains will pass, on schedule, as is normal, so your points are mute, if not plain old silly. I think you just want to complain, and want to stand in the way of economic progress, which, by the way should be Saugerties model; “We stand in defiance of economic progress, and want all our citizens to flee, for better opportunity.” While we are at it, that Dragon Inn site is as beautiful and safe as ever, thirty years and counting. Great job Saugerties, maybe after everyone is gone, looking for a quality livelihood elsewhere, then all you craven old timers with your old falling down infrastructure, lack of opportunity, antiquated and outdated business structure, standing in the face of progress and the future, all in the name of preserving “history”, with your heads up your butts, can go back to horse and buggy, then who needs an auto parts store?

  3. Doug

    Speaking of Rail road crossings. Could those be fixed? And fixed to last a while? Seems neglected maintenance for such a popular road.

Comments are closed.