GERMANTOWN—The Planning Board holds a workshop meeting Saturday, February 10 at 2 p.m. in Town Hall to look at the Findings Statement submitted by Primax Properties for the proposed Dollar General retail store on Route 9G just north of County Route 8 / Main Street.
Stephen Reynolds, Planning Board chairman said Tuesday, “The board would either add to it or accept it as written.
“A positive Findings Statement would mean that the applicant had mitigated the potential environmental impact to the greatest extent possible,” he said.
This is a public meeting, at which the board can take action, said Mr. Reynolds, but it is not a meeting for public comment.
After a SEQR (state Environmental Quality Review) process that began two years ago and proceeded with nothing if not deliberation, the end of the process seems to at least one observer to be moving lickety-split.
On September 28, 2017, the Planning Board held a public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project. Of the 60 people attending, 27 spoke, five in favor of the project, 21 against.
The next steps were for Primax to take those comments into consideration in drafting a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which would be submitted to the Planning Board for review and revision.
Primax submitted its draft FEIS at some point in the first half of January, said Mr. Reynolds. He expected the board’s review and revision to start at its January 25 meeting, but instead the board voted 4 to 3 to accept the Primax FEIS as written.
Board member George Sharpe Sr. confirmed in an email Tuesday that he had made the motion to accept, seconded by Kerrie Abela. Tim Otty and Peter Dedrick voted with them; Mr. Reynolds, Margaret Della Cioppa and Rao Gaddipati voted against.
In the same configuration, 4-to-3, the board next approved a motion to allow Primax to write the Findings Statement. Mr. Reynolds reported that J. Theodore Fink of Greenplan, Inc., who has been advising the board on the Primax application, called this action unprecedented.
Mr. Fink did not attend the January 25 meeting. At the December 19, 2017 Town Board meeting, Mr. Reynolds asked then Supervisor Joel Craig about “the matter of clarifying the escrow account for Primax. In this transitional phase, I didn’t want that to get lost,” he said.
Mr. Craig assured him it would not get lost, but apparently the amount that Primax should have in the escrow account to pay for Mr. Fink’s services has not been clarified, effectively cutting off Mr. Fink’s consultancy.
Tuesday Mr. Reynolds said he was surprised by the vote. With Mr. Fink absent, “the board could not avail ourselves of his expert opinion,” said Mr. Reynolds. “Essentially the Primax representatives stated their opinions, without opinions that could have assisted the board.”
“If and when we come to positive Findings Statement, then we go into site plan review, said Mr. Reynolds.
In other development news, at the February 13 Town Board meeting, that board will consider extending the town’s sewer district. The board will take up a Resolution and Order accepting a map, plan and report, and scheduling a public hearing. That meeting, at Town Hall, begins at 7 p.m., after a public hearing on a Cold War veterans’ tax exemption at 6:45 p.m.