Concerns include noise, pollution, tree clearing
Dust rose over a shaved hill whose base held stacks of carcasses from the trees pulled from its dirt as Century Aggregates builds an entrance for its mining operation along Route 9, just north of Philipstown in the Town of Fishkill.
Ed Bushek, brandishing walking poles in each hand, watched the cloud from the intersection of Route 9 and Carol Lane, the rural road whose residents on the north side reside in Fishkill and on the south, in Philipstown.
Nearby, two plaques commemorating a Revolutionary War battery are maintained by Bushek and other members of the Fishkill Ridge Caretakers. Clove Creek is close and nearby.
But as residents turn onto Carol Lane from Route 9, they pass a field where Companion Pet Hospital wants to build a dog-training facility and emergency dispatch center.
Just north on Route 9, next to the Cranesville Block Co.’s operation, a company called 52 Route 9 LLC is grading land for two office and four warehouse buildings totaling more than 31,000 square feet.
“It’s really coming to a head,” said Bushek, who remembers vegetable fields and forests when his family, in 1948, bought a cottage on Carol Lane as a summer refuge.
He is referring to a flurry of development activity along Route 9 that is alarming residents on both sides of the county boundary separating Philipstown from Fishkill, and Putnam from Dutchess.
Any harmony between them and the companies operating along the heavily industrial state route is being tested as Century expands its business and processes fill from a major construction project in Tarrytown.
Residents have complained about dust and traffic from Century’s property and paint fumes from the Maaco auto repair shop. They worry about light pollution from the warehouse project and potential noise from Companion’s proposal.
“It started with allowing Cranesville to set up shop where they did — it is a very, very dirty affair, a lot of dust coming out of there,” said Bushek. “And then the warehouses, they got lights going all night long.”
Century Aggregates has been trucking gravel, rock and sand from a site in Tarrytown where Regeneron, a biotech company, broke ground in June on a $1.8 billion, 724,000-square-foot research and manufacturing facility, said Ozzy Albra, Fishkill’s supervisor. On March 24, Albra responded to a litany of complaints by emailing an update to residents about the projects.
Six months earlier, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) found no negative environmental impacts from Century’s application to expand its mining operation by 12 acres, to excavate an estimated 750,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel over five years, and build a new entrance. Century has also said that it will eventually begin using water from an on-site pond instead of Clove Creek.
Regeneron’s debris, which Century will be receiving until June and resell for construction use after it is processed, has passed testing by the DEC, said Albra.
The company’s new entrance and exit, which is south of the gravel road used by trucks and closer to the Philipstown line, will be paved to cut down on dust and will be safer because it is being moved away from a curve, he said. When the new entrance opens in about a year, a landscaped berm will be built at the old entrance to shield the mine from passersby, said Albra.
“I do care about my neighbors in other municipalities,” he said. “Everything is being done to code and there are no zoning variances being given for any of this stuff.”
Area residents are also worried about Companion Pet Hospital’s expansion plans. In May 2022, Companion submitted an application to the Fishkill Planning Board seeking approval for a two-phase project: construction of a 4,400-square-foot dog-training facility, followed by a 3,384-square-foot emergency dispatch center and a potential 2,200-square-foot expansion of its hospital.
Companion has been in business for 40 years but the growth for its services, spurred by a surge in pet ownership during the pandemic, strained the hospital’s current space, said Jeremy Frederick, who owns the practice with his wife.
With the training facility, Companion will treat aggression, anxiety, fear and other behavioral problems, and provide guidance and support to owners, he said.
“Behavioral issues in dogs can be a major source of stress and frustration for both dogs and their guardians, often leading to negative consequences for their overall health and well-being,” said Frederick. “Sadly, it is also the leading cause of pet relinquishment to animal shelters, and subsequent euthanasia.”
The property is located at the southeast corner of Route 9 and Carol Lane on a 6-acre lot that is partially in Philipstown. Companion is proposing to build on the 2.2 acres that are in Fishkill.
Bushek said he is not opposed to the hospital expanding but believes that the addition of a dog-training facility and 24-hour dispatch center will negatively impact the neighborhood.
“This doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood,” he said.
These projects don’t just happen. They are approved by town boards. If you are in opposition, you need to go to the meetings and do research. That’s all public info that can be accessed easily. In this case, someone left the barn door open and the cows are already out. You need to be there to shut the door.
I wonder where our self-appointed nonprofit guardians of nature that proliferate in this area were on this one. It might be a good idea to “follow the money,” as they say, to get answers to that.
Grateful for the detailed explanation of the massive works happening on either side of Route 9.
My husband, Dr. Jeremy Frederick, and I own Companion Pet Hospital. We were contacted by The Current about our plans to develop a portion of the lot surrounding the existing hospital.
Our plan includes an expansion of the pet hospital and a new building that will house a dog-training facility. We have dropped plans for an animal dispatch center, and it was never going to be 24 hours, as stated in the article, which is good news for everyone since this misinformation seems to be the area of concern for our neighbors.
Companion Pet Hospital is a well-established veterinary practice that has been serving the community for 40 years. We saw an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic and our ability to help people and their pets became limited by the space we have available. In addition to expanding our hospital, we saw an opportunity to provide a resource to people and their pets that is not available in our area.
Behavioral issues in dogs can be a major source of stress and frustration for both dogs and their guardians, often leading to negative consequences for their overall health and well-being. Sadly, it is also the leading cause of pet relinquishment to animal shelters and subsequent euthanasia. Our new Behavioral Health Center will aim to address these issues by providing a safe and supportive environment for dogs to receive the care and attention they need to overcome their behavioral challenges.
In addition to growing our services, the expansion will provide a newly paved entry to Carol Lane, and our landscaping plans will beautify the space with new trees and flowers.
My family and I live on Carol Lane in Fishkill, on the private road that serves the Companion Pet Hospital. I was grateful to read Dr. Hope Jankunas’ clarification about the pet hospital expansion. My family and our neighbors support Companion Pet Hospital and understand its need to expand its hospital building to support increased business.
To clarify some of the confusion about the understanding of this project: At the June 6 meeting of the Fishkill Planning Board, a representative of the architecture firm Hudson Design stated that the dispatch center would “provide somebody on-site as an emergency tech that can take the vehicle out 24/7.” It is a relief to learn that the plans for the dispatch center have been dropped.
The real concern with this expansion is the animal-behavior and dog-training facility. In our neighborhood we have small children, neighbors with varied abilities and elderly residents. We view the addition of a large facility that will serve “aggressive, anxious, fearful” and otherwise unpredictable dogs as an unnecessary danger and hazard to the residents in our neighborhood, specifically to the most vulnerable groups. The consideration of safety for my family and neighbors should be as much of a priority as it would be near a school or hospital, or any home.
Other points of contention are the noise disruptions that will inevitably be created with this additional facility and the increased level of traffic that would affect our children’s safety while playing, bike riding and getting on and off the bus and home safely. It also limits how we exit and enter our road safely and with ease.
It is important to reiterate the ongoing level of destruction of nature that I have watched around me. I have witnessed the removal of hundreds of mature trees and the destruction of natural habitats for threatened species. I am saddened that these projects continue to be approved to destroy the natural and serene beauty of this area. It gives the message that, because we are a small, out-of-the-way neighborhood, we are able to be overlooked. We care about our neighbors and children. We have pride in and care for our homes, and we respect and value the nature around us.