Saugerties planners tentatively approve AutoZone store

John Joseph with plans for the AutoZone site. (Photo by David Gordon)

From the color scheme to the height of the building to the location of air conditioning ducts, the Saugerties Village Planning Board went through the details of their final approval of the application for an AutoZone store at Ulster and Railroad avenues at its September meeting.

While the board approved the list of specifications it wants to see in the design of the store, the final approval of the application for the building itself is planned to be completed at the board’s next meeting on Wednesday, October 9. In the interim, the board’s attorney, Benjamin Neidl is to draw up the board’s specifications in the form of a motion on which the board can vote.


In the site plan and special use permit it approves, the board cannot specify that the site must be occupied by an AutoZone store, the board’s attorney, Benjamin Neidl, said. It can specify the color, materials, size and appearance of the building, but not its occupant. Assuming AutoZone decided to leave, a new owner would have to leave the color, materials and size of the building the same or come to the Planning Board for approval of any changes, he said. However, the board cannot specify that the approval is only for AutoZone; rather, it must be for any similar retail operation, the attorney said. “It’s unlawful for you to say only AutoZone forever.”

The discussion started with a specification of the colors of the building, following board Chair Mary Leahy’s questioning the description in the minutes of the previous meeting. She questioned a statement that the design includes a large sign similar to those used in AutoZone stores in other areas. John Joseph, the store’s developer, agreed that no such sign is included in the plans. The final description includes the building’s height, 21 feet; overall size, 7300 square feet; and the colors, red brick and cream colored stone, “with an accent trim.” Joseph said he would bring color swatches to the next meeting should the board want to include more specific colors in the description.

The board’s comments and requirements are already noted on the site plans, Leahy said.

As they went through the conditions to be included in the resolution, the board reviewed the areas that need to be covered.

Traffic includes the requirement that only trucks use the exit onto Railroad Avenue, and there should be signs to that effect. Lighting levels should be included, the board agreed. The plans call for a single security light on the building and some security lights inside the building, Joseph said. “I think the lights go out an hour after the last employee leaves the store, Joseph said. 

Leahy asked that some language be included to preserve the general appearance of the site, as it is at the entrance to the village. “From the start, I think a concern was the aesthetics of coming into the village entrance, so I would like to say in some way that because of the rock outcropping and the rows of trees…if you limit the disturbance of that natural area as you enter the village.”

Joseph noted that landscaping is included in the plan, and unless some unforeseen problem comes up the plan will be followed. “Failures to adhere to that plan would be code violations,” Neidl said.

The special use permit is for a retail use in an industrial location, Leahy said. “Although it appears as a residence to everyone else, this is actually zoned industrial.”

The board voted to turn over the discussions and agreements to Neidl, and to authorize him to draft a final motion, which he promised to do before the next meeting.