Valatie finds it has water for washing cars

VALATIE–The village Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals met again in a joint session last week to review the state Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) submitted by the owner of the proposed Cantele Carwash on Route 9. The self-serve carwash will be built on the site of the Valkin Restaurant if the Zoning Board approves the owner’s request for a special use permit and the Planning Board approves the site plan.

But neither the special use permit nor the site plan requests was presented at the boards’ joint meeting February 22, since the EAF must first be reviewed by two state agencies–the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Transportation–and by the county Planning Board. The local Planning and Zoning boards also plan to send copies of the EAF to the state historic preservation office and the Village of Kinderhook.

Two issues that appeared to be hurdles when the carwash plan was brought to the board three months ago are now off the table.

The Village of Kinderhook had concerns that the chemicals from the carwash could get into the village wells. The property is near the boundary between the Villages of Valatie and Kinderhook, but Valatie Village Engineer George Schmitt told the boards, “The parcel is not in the wellhead protection area.” Mr. Schmitt said that meant the Kinderhook Board’s concerns were not “applicable” to this project.

The other issue involved the volume of water the Village of Valatie can provide. Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons explained at last week’s meeting that there is no moratorium or limit on how many properties can connect to the village water system.

Statements by local officials in the past have referred to a cap on the number of water customers and Mr. Fitzsimmons acknowledged that some years ago the state raised a question about wells in the village. State and county agencies say that one of the wells for the village water system is under the influence of surface water, a potential source of pollution. But the village wells have been tested several times and the Village Board plans to upgrade one well to make sure that that village can maintain the state required standard for water capacity. Mr. Fitzsimmons said the village still has work to do but he stressed that there is no moratorium on new hook-ups nor is there any limit on the number of new connections that can be added each year, though he also said that the state had expressed concerns about the prospect of a major subdivision with five or more units in a building connecting to the village system.

“We should be good on the supply standpoint,” he said of the water for this carwash project.

Bill Better, the lawyer for Cantele, the company that would operate the carwash, repeated that point saying, “There is no moratorium that would apply to this project.”

“The moratorium lore has been out there for so long,” said Mr. Fitzsimmons of the confusion. The issue with the wells date back to at least 2011 and a previous village administration.

Mr. Schmitt said that the village Water and Sewer Foreman Paul Warner had some issues with carwash and the sewer capacity. Mr. Warner sent a letter about his concerns to the boards.

But Mr. Better said that Mr. Warner’s letter did not provide “empirical evidence” that wastewater from the carwash would adversely affect the sewer system.

The sewer system has the capacity to handle the 5,000 gallons of water a day that Mr. Cantele’s engineer said would be the average use at the carwash. Mr. Schmitt said that the problem identified by the foreman is peak use of the carwash. Mr. Schmidt said that more flow through the system “could be a good thing,” but they don’t know yet what impact it will have.

“The question was about capacity not ability,” said Mike Clark, chair of the Planning Board, referring to environmental form about the sewer that the boards were reviewing that night. After questions from a few board members about matters including local historic sites, listing the site as near at least two churches (a question on the form) and clarifying who the applicant is–Sting Ray LLC or BJ Cantele–the boards agreed that the EAF was complete enough to circulate. The agencies receiving EAF will have 30 days to respond to the village about the plan. The Zoning Board of Appeals will be the lead agency on the state environmental quality review, with both boards scheduled to meet again in April to review any comments on the EAF.

The next joint meeting will be April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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