Carwash, restaurant don’t mix in Valatie plan

VALATIE–The village Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) held another joint meeting last week to discuss the proposal for carwash on Route 9. At the meeting B.J. Cantele presented the boards with plans that would replace the Valkin restaurant building with a 24-hour self-serve carwash.

Mr. Cantele’s lawyer, Bill Better, said at the January 25 meeting that the plans “do not have the building continuing to be there.” He said his client tried to create a plan that would preserve the Valkin building and add the carwash in the back. And Mr. Cantele’s engineer presented two sets of plans to the board last month–one with the building and the carwash on the same property and one with just the carwash.

At this month’s meeting, Mr. Better said of saving the building: “It just won’t work.”

He said with the carwash-only plan, “the number of approvals that we need to get is reduced,” adding that now Mr. Cantele needs only a special use permit from the ZBA and site plan review by the Planning Board.

Ryan Morrison, from Crawford & Associates Engineering, PC, presented the boards with the new plan. He also talked about questions about the proposal he had received from the Village Engineer George Schmitt. They discussed testing for chemicals, hours of operation and approvals needed from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about the wetlands behind the current building.

Mr. Morrison said that Mr. Cantele still needs to present topographic maps of the area to address grading issues.

There was discussion at the meeting about the property being in a 100-year flood plain, a matter that still needs to be resolved.

As for the chemicals, Mr. Morrison said the carwash will have a septic tank to pre-treat any water coming off of the cars or used in the cleaning products. Then the water from the operation at the carwash goes into the Valatie Waste Water Treatment Plant. He said his firm had tested for chemicals released into the water system at Mr. Cantele’s other carwash in Greenport and said the concentrations were within what is considered safe by the DEC. “There is nothing that we’re worried about so far,” he said.

Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons read a letter from Kinderhook Village Mayor Jim Dunham about concerns over calcium chloride from the cars getting into the village’s aquifer.

Several Kinderhook Village residents attended the meeting along with a few Valatie Village residents. Mayor Dunham pointed out in his letter that the Valkin, which is on the border of the two villages on Route 9 in a B2 (or Business 2) zone, is inside Kinderhook’s wellhead protection area. Mr. Morrison stressed that calcium chloride would go into septic tank and then to Valatie sewer to be treated.

One of the major issues facing the proposal is the moratorium on water service expansion the county and state have placed on the Village of Valatie. Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle, who attended the meeting, said the village is currently allowed to provide four new connections to the village water system each year. She said at the meeting that Mr. Cantele would have to talk to the county Department of Health about the moratorium.

Each carwash bay is considered a separate unit, so the carwash, with four bays and a dog washing station, would use up all four allowable hook-ups. The mayor said the issue with the Health Department is not the quality of water but the amount that the village wells produce. The Village Board is working on bringing new water wells on line, she said.

Mr. Morrison said that he was not sure of the numbers but guessed that the carwash would use about 5,000 gallons a day and have an average of 80 cars.

Mayor Argyle said that there are construction projects already moving forward, including a two-family Habitat for Humanity home that the organization is planning to connect to the village’s water and sewer this year.

There also was more discussion about noise at the site and testing for that, which Mr. Morrison said had been conducted. The carwash wants to be 24 hours, which one board member pointed out was not the norm for businesses in the village.

The boards have to conduct a long-form State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) that then must be reviewed by several other agencies, including the DEC, a state historic review board, the Village of Kinderhook, the county Planning Board and the Department of Health. Those agencies have 30 days to respond to the village about the plan after the SEQR completed.

The ZBA will most likely be lead agency for the review, but the two boards plan to review it together at another joint meeting February 22 at 7 p.m. at the Martin H. Glynn Building.

Before the carwash plans can be approved there must be a public hearing at which residents can make comments and submit written statements will be read. A date for the public hearing has not yet been set.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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