A tempest brewing over a coffee cup?
By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong
Documents obtained Monday afternoon (April 2) through a Freedom of Information request to the Cold Spring village government confirm rumors that the owner of the Elmesco Citgo Inc., gasoline and auto repair operation, seeks to convert his repair garage into a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise. One of the papers, a building permit application filed by Ken Elmes, of Hopewell Junction, states that Elmesco wants to undertake “conversion of existing 3-bay facility into a Dunkin’ Donuts, with drive-through and convenience store.” The other document – one of two in the case so far – reveals that that Village Building Inspector William Bujarski denied the building permit request, on the grounds the conversion involves a “change of use” and details that the village Planning Board should review. The Planning Board is scheduled to begin looking at the project on Tuesday night (April 3). Dissemination late last week of the board’s agenda, which lists “introduction to Elmesco application” as the first item of business, fed rumors about the future of the Elmesco facility, located at the edge of the Foodtown Plaza on Chestnut Street.
Bujarski’s denial form noted that the proposed usage is “compliant with current zoning” for the Foodtown area and that Elmesco wants to put the new donut parlor “within the confines of the current structure.”
How a Dunkin’ Donuts venture might affect the already often-traffic-congested Foodtown area, or other businesses located there (such as Main Course and Foodtown) that sell coffee or pastries and snacks to drivers on the run remains to be seen. Whether the plans will fuel further concern on the part of Benedict Road and Marion Avenue residents, already worried about Foodtown expansion and the location of the post office, also is unclear. Likewise, over the years at least some residents have expressed opposition to the idea of adding large national franchise operations to their small village. So far, except for a couple of gasoline stations, Cold Spring does not have large national chain outlets, although it does contain Drug World and Foodtown stores, members of regional chains. The Planning Board meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, at the Village Hall, 85 Main St.
Photo by L.S.Armstrong
A few things, why do we have zoning if we can just change it whenever we feel like it to suit a developer, or to prevent development? This proposal fits the current zoning of the property.
Secondly, I have heard a lot of people(not elected officials) telling private property owners what they can/cannot do with their property, what they should do with their property, what is deemed acceptable use of their property, etc. The Comprehensive Plan was a good exercise in identifying areas of our Village that could be better developed – if we are now going to use this document as the up/down vote for any fence, shed or proposed change to the Village, well I don’t believe that was the intended purpose.
Lastly, I am all for preserving the character of Cold Spring, however preventing a “duplicative” business from opening, just isn’t the way capitalism works. We currently have 6 ice cream parlors, two gas stations, a few day cares, a few bed and breakfasts, a bunch of restaurants…it’s not up to the Village government to decide when there’s too many, it’s up to the market. If D&D opens and you don’t agree, don’t buy it.