Primax dollar store plan review inches ahead

GERMANTOWN—Development proceeds in town, if not apace, then with deliberation.

Next Thursday, September 28, at 7 p.m. the Planning Board holds a public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) prepared by Primax Properties as part of its application for a Dollar General retail store on Route 9G just north of the County Route 8 (Main Street) intersection.

The DEIS prepared by the applicant is part of the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process; until the SEQR is complete, the Planning Board cannot undertake a site plan review for the project.

The DEIS can be found on the town’s website, germantownny.org.

Planning Board Chairman Stephen Reynolds first mentioned the DEIS from Primax to The Columbia Paper in November 2016. Primax was working on the DEIS, he said then, based on the Planning Board’s final scoping document.

“Usually, these things go back and forth,” he said at the time. “Sometimes an applicant gets it perfect the first time, but not usually.”

After “going back and forth” this year, the Planning Board approved the DEIS for a public hearing at its August 31 meeting. The hearing was scheduled for September 28 and the period for written comment was also set, through noon on Wednesday, October 25.

Written comments can be mailed to Town Hall, 50 Palatine Park Road, Germantown, NY 12525, Att: Jamie DelPozzo, or emailed to .

The September 28 public hearing takes place at the Kellner Activities Building on Palatine Park Road.

Once the written comment period closes, the next step in the process is the preparation of the final Environmental Impact Statement, J. Theodore Fink of Greenplan, Inc. in Rhinebeck said Tuesday. Mr. Fink has been advising the Planning Board on the Primax application. His fee is paid through an escrow account established by Primax Properties for application expenses.

While the DEIS is the applicant’s responsibility, the Planning Board is responsible for the final impact statement, said Mr. Fink. Nevertheless, “convention is to have the applicant take a stab at the final EIS,” he said, “since the applicant is in the best position to answer questions brought out by public comment and make changes to the project if necessary.”

“There’s some give and take on the final EIS,” Mr. Fink said, “but usually the EIS is completed with 45 days after the close of the written comment period. That’s flexible,” he added. “The applicant may need more than 45 days.”

Once the Planning Board is satisfied that the final EIS adequately responds to comments, then that board adopts the impact statement and files it with all the involved agencies, such as the state Department of Transportation and the Town Board.

With that done, the Planning Board has between 10 and 30 days to prepare a Finding Statement.

That ends the SEQR process.

Then a decision can be made on a site plan review.

In other matters before the planning board:

• The September 28 meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a public hearing on an application from Rebecca Westby for a special use permit for an additional dwelling in a converted barn on her property on Block Factory Road, in a Rural Residential zone

• That evening there will also be a discussion with Henrietta D’Souza on her application for a site plan review for the existing pond, utility building, animal pens and husbandry on her property at 4301 Route 9G, in a Highway Commercial zone.

Ms. D’Souza also wishes to subdivide 1.6 acres from her property for sale to Primax Properties for the Dollar General store, but Mr. Reynolds said in May that the two matters are independent and do not weigh on each other

• Kelly Geary has withdrawn her application for a coffee/wine bar/bookstore for the eastern half of the former Germantown Variety Store, which was discussed at the May 25 Planning Board meeting. A jewelry store has gone into the space instead, said Mr. Reynolds.

• The 1955 diner approved at the May 25 Planning Board meeting (pending approval from the Columbia County Planning Board) has not yet appeared on Route 9G at Sharpes Landing Road. Proprietor Michael C. Lueck said Tuesday that the hold-up was in moving the diner from Grand Gorge to Germantown. The company he first contracted with proved unable to move the diner, so he has found another company.

The diner should arrive in “about three weeks,” he said. In the meantime, foundation work will begin on the site, “this week or next.”

• In another development matter, the Waterfront Advisory Committee holds Visioning Workshop No. 2 Wednesday, September 27 at 7 p.m. in the Kellner Activities Building. The committee seeks public input for its local waterfront revitalization study (“bring us your visions, our ears are open”). Those who cannot attend are welcome to email their ideas to . The committee meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

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