Also asks Philipstown for OK to sell used cars
By Chip Rowe
The Philipstown Planning Board will hold a public hearing on Sept. 19 to hear feedback on a plan to add a canopy over the gas pumps at the Gulf station on Route 9D in Garrison. The hearing had been scheduled for Aug. 15 but was postponed.
Arafat Ibrahim, who bought the property in 2013, said he also would like to sell a handful of used cars on the 1-acre site — something that has been done informally and which earned the station at least one citation.
Neighbors have expressed concern about the proposals. In a letter to the Planning Board, 47 neighbors calling themselves the Garrison Hamlet Association cited inaccuracies in Ibrahim’s application and asked the board to conduct a careful review, “given that the property is adjacent to an historic public school, church and wetlands, and is within direct view of at least 15 homes and two parks.”
The group expressed concern about potential contamination of the groundwater during construction, pollution of the wetlands, a canopy being an eyesore and the ongoing car sales, with test drives taking place on Nelson Lane.
“We are constantly struggling against the perception that this neighborhood is a commercial zone, where anything goes,” the residents wrote. “It is not. The Hamlet Mixed-Use zone that is sandwiched between Hamlet Residential and Rural Conservation zones should not be interpreted as a commercial hub or catch-all.”
Attorney Bart Lansky, who represents Ibrahim, told the Planning Board on July 18 that the canopy design had been modified in response to the concerns. He said that, like the Appalachian Market station on Route 9, the Gulf canopy would be shingled and have no signs and that a stone veneer will be added to the front of the building.
“Canopies have become a basic requirement” for gas stations, Lansky said. “People will no longer stop for gas if it’s raining or snowing.” He said the lighting would be directed straight down and its spread limited by an overhang.
In addition, he said, Ibrahim is willing to use plantings instead of a chain-link fence to obscure cars parked to the north of the pumps. Lansky said on July 18 he would submit a revised application.
Ron Gainer, the town engineer, said the state Department of Environmental Conservation has not had any concerns about the station since it ended monitoring in 2009 of an earlier spill, and that the county planning department gave its OK.
Lansky said his client plans to have no more than five cars for sale at any time. Steve Gaba, the town attorney, said the board must determine if used car sales are “usual and customary” for filling stations, although the Gulf is also a repair shop, and the town allows limited car sales at those locations.
The public hearing is scheduled to take place during the Planning Board’s Sept. 19 meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Old VFW Hall, 34 Kemble Ave., in Cold Spring.