Residents wary of new Craryville store

COPAKE—A proposal to build a new gas station/convenience store at a busy Craryville intersection has many residents concerned about public safety there.

Barbara Smith of 405 Craryville Road spoke during the public comment portion of the November 9 Town Board meeting to ask the board to request that the state Department of Transportation perform a traffic study at the intersection of State Route 23, Craryville Road and County Route 7.

GRJH, Inc., proposes to build a new gas station/convenience store on the northwest corner of that intersection on the 1.7- acre parcel where the old Craryville supermarket once stood. Craryville is a hamlet in the Town of Copake.

Looking southeast, is a view of the intersection of Route 23, Craryville Road and County Route 7 as seen from the site of a new proposed convenience store/gas station. Photo by David Lee

Alicia Metz is the president of GRJH, a Sharon, CT-based, privately-held wholesale gasoline and oil company established in 1995, according to the online business listing service Manta. GRJH is associated with Cobble Pond Farms convenience stores/gas stations.

Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $13,457,386 and employs a staff of approximately 25,” says the Manta directory.

The proposal, still in the early stages, is under site plan review by the town Planning Board and currently calls for a 3,240 square-foot store, with 48 parking spaces and three gas pump islands with two-pumps each.

The applicant has mentioned the possibility of a “co-vendor” at the site, perhaps Dunkin’ Donuts, but it has not yet been determined if there is enough traffic there to support one.

The site is situated between the Craryville Post Office to the west and the Craryville United Methodist Church to the east. Just east of the church is the new Homestead Market, formerly Random Harvest. The Homestead Market was granted Planning Board approval in December 2016 and has since then been undergoing renovations. The plan is to operate a farm produce market along with a deli and a small seating area, according to Planning Board Secretary Lisa DeConti.

The Ameri-Stop convenience store is already located about a quarter-mile to the east of the intersection, though it does not sell gasoline.

Entrances to the new gas station/convenience store would be off Craryville Road, a town road, which the town highway superintendent has already approved and off State Route 23.

In a January 20 letter, which was among the materials submitted by Mrs. Smith to the Town Board, she says she lives just north of the Route 23 intersection. Mrs. Smith says the station/store will generate increased auto/truck traffic “into what is already a very dangerous intersection” and makes note of a “serious accident” at the intersection in which her neighbor was involved.

She writes that in addition to the added traffic at the intersection, the post office generates its own “load of vehicular traffic” moving on and off Route 23; that the Craryville Road station/store entrance is directly opposite from the church entrance; that new produce market will add to the potential traffic load and a Taconic Hills school bus pick up and drop off point is directly across from the new station/store.

She also points out that Route 23 is “a major state road between Hudson and Great Barrington, [MA,] and is heavily travelled by interstate trucking.”

Mrs. Smith’s letter was accompanied by 62 typed names and addresses of Hillsdale and Copake residents who ask among other things that a safety analysis be sought from both the town highway superintendent and the state Department of Transportation.

The Planning Board conducted a public hearing on a boundary line adjustment sought by GRJH for the project, November 2. According to the draft minutes of that meeting, 13 Copake and Hillsdale residents spoke, many expressing concerns about traffic at the intersection and calling for a traffic study, a traffic light and/or a turning lane.

Several voiced concerns that the convenience store design will not be in keeping with “the character of Craryville.” One man even called it an “eyesore.” Copake resident Fran Miller said she does not support the project given the school bus traffic through the area and expressed concern that Copake would turn into the “land of convenience stores.”

At the November Town Board meeting, Mrs. Smith submitted her materials to the town clerk. Town Supervisor Jeff Nayer said he understood the concerns and would see what could be done about requesting a traffic study.

In other matters the board:

* Received a request from Copake Grange member Marcia Becker that No Parking signs be removed from the east side of Empire Road to allow for more parking for Grange events

* Heard the town’s portion of the Community Rescue Squad budget will be $235,732 for 2018, an increase of $1,975

* Adopted the 2018 town budget which carries with it a 0% tax increase for the sixth year in a row. Mr. Nayer said that residents whose property assessments did not go up as a result of the recent reassessment will see no increase taxes.

The board’s next meeting is December 14 at 7 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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