When a businessman wants to locate in an area where zoning does not allow his type of business to operate, he or she usually seeks a variance from the existing zoning. This allows the specific business to operate in the area even though it does not fit the requirements of the zone.
However, the Denier Car Wash is seeking to change the general business zone and the aquifer overlay to allow car washes. While the Town of Saugerties Planning Board cannot take any action on the zoning change, the car wash is seeking Planning Board support for the change, which will be determined by the Saugerties Town Board. Representatives of the applicant appeared at the Planning Board meeting of January 18 to discuss the project.
The proposed Denier Car Wash would not discharge any water into the aquifer that runs along Route 32, but would use technology that has been employed in many other places to ensure that all wastewater is disposed of without any runoff that could damage the aquifer, said John Denier.
The planners agreed to meet with the applicants before the next regular board meeting to discuss some outstanding issues, including concerns expressed by several citizens about the possible contamination of the aquifer that serves as a water supply to the Town and Village. The meeting would not include a majority of Planning Board members, but would include Dennis Larios, the Town’s consultant for the project. In particular, the applicants want to discuss a hydrology report they say draws inaccurate conclusions about their project.
In particular, Denier said, applicants want to discuss the proposal for zero discharges from the plant, as “this is the most critical things that are commented on in the hydrology report.” The applicants have many reports from zero discharge car washes running in New York State, which they would share with the Planning Board, Denier said.
While some public comments imply a connection between one of the backers of Winston Farm and the car wash project, Denier said these are separate projects; the fact that there may be some financial backing for the car wash from one of the Winston Farm developers does not mean the projects are linked.
Planning Board member Ken Goldberg said that while an earlier public hearing drew no concerned citizens, the project has drawn more local discussion, and it might make sense to hold another public hearing before the board makes its recommendation. Goldberg pointed out that two new reports contain information and that many people have written to the board expressing concerns. A public hearing at this point might help to clarify and possibly answer these concerns.
The applicant’s attorney, Michael Moriello, said there would be public hearings required throughout the application process. However, Goldberg said these meetings would be at the Town Board, and he would like to see a Planning Board public hearing before the planners submit their recommendations to the Town Board.
The board deferred further discussion until after the meeting with the applicant, engineer and some planners, but less than a board majority.