Mobil in Milan

Milan gas stations getting pumped

Sunoco, Mobil projects inch forward in town approval process

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Milan’s two proposed gas stations on Route 199, now called Cobble Pond and Chestnut Mart, have each moved one step closer to approval.

Both applicants appear eager to get shovels in the ground during the 2013 construction season because the town has had no gas station since fire claimed the Mobil just off the Taconic Parkway eight years ago.

The architect for Cobble Pond Corp., which is proposing a Sunoco station and market near Bayhorse Gazebos and Barns, brought revised plans to the planning board’s Feb. 6 meeting to address questions posed at the last meeting.

One issue was how trucks will enter the site to deliver gas to the underground tanks. Architect Ray Nelson’s new plan showed that even a “worst-case truck” could be accommodated at the site without blocking the flow of traffic.

However, the entire plan hinges on whether the state Department of Transportation (DOT) will grant two entrances to the site, according to planning board member Jim Jeffreys. If DOT does not grant two entrances, “that would change the plan completely,” Nelson told the board.

After reviewing the plans, the board approved a Negative Declaration, the final step in the State Environmental Quality Review process. A “Neg Dec” asserts that the project under consideration “will not result in a significant adverse environmental impact.”

The Sunoco station must now apply for two variances from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. A front yard setback variance would decrease the required 80 feet to 44.6 feet, according to the plans. A second variance for lot coverage will also be necessary because the planned convenience store at the station exceeds the maximum square footage allowed by law.

However, the town board is currently considering three significant changes to town zoning code that would smooth the process for both projects. One change would increase the maximum square footage allowable for a convenience store from 2,500 sq. feet to 4,000 sq feet, which would make the Sunoco lot coverage variance unnecessary. Another change would allow parking in front of new stores in the town’s highway business district, which runs along Route 199, and a third would allow drive-thrus in the district.

Meanwhile, Scott Parker, of CPD Energy Corp. of New Paltz, brought revised plans for adding a drive-thru at Chestnut Mart, a gas station-convenience store designed to replace the defunct Mobil station.

“No contracts are signed, but there’s talk of maybe a Dunkin’ Donuts if the town is interested in something like that,” Parker explained.

Jeffreys cautioned that the zoning changes before the town board may take months to be approved, which could further delay the Mobil plans, which have been in the works for years.

Jeffreys noted that the last time a representative of CDP appeared before the board was back in 2009. Parker explained that the delay was due in part to difficulty establishing a water supply approved by the county board of health.

Because of the lapse in time, the project may have to start from the beginning with an environmental assessment and Neg Dec from the planning board and a new highway work permit from DOT, according to Jeffreys. The original permit from the DEC, however, is valid until 2015.

“Even though a lot hasn’t changed, we just want to make sure that we’re not missing anything,” Jeffreys said.

The planning board requested a comprehensive set of revised plans for the Mobil station, as well as the original plans, and will discuss them at its next meeting, which will be followed by a public hearing on the project.

“I think we’ve got a couple months of going back and forth on this,” Jeffreys predicted.

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