Dollar store plan moves ahead a step in Germantown

GERMANTOWN—The Planning Board accepted the Findings Statement, the last step in the State Environmental Quality Review process for the Dollar General retail store proposed for the west side of Route 9G just north of County Route 8/Main Street.

The vote took place at the Planning Board’s February 22 meeting. Six of the seven planners attended, and the vote was 6-0 in favor of approval. Rao Gaddipati was absent.

Primax Properties, LLC, based in Charlotte, NC, is the applicant for the project. Primax will build the store and lease it to Dollar General, which is based in Goodlettesville, TN.

State law permits the applicant to write the Findings Statement, which sums up the Environmental Impact Statements agreed to by the municipality–in this case the Planning Board as lead agency for the town–and the applicant.

The Planning Board began considering the Primax application in January 2015. Realizing the complexity of the application and the process, the board hired J. Theodore Fink of Greenplan, Inc., in Rhinebeck as its consultant, in December 2015.

The required state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process began in February 2016. In May 2016, as part of that process, the board gave the proposal a “Positive Declaration,” which meant that the store could have a negative environmental impact on the town in several ways and required a careful environmental review.

At that time, Primax proposed a store of 9,100 square feet, on a 1.3-acre lot to be subdivided from a 6-acre parcel. The store would have a 38-car parking lot, lighting, signage, a loading area and landscaping.

The SEQR process continued, winding up with the board’s accepting the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) at its January 25, 2018 meeting. Primax also wrote the FEIS, as permitted by the state.

The February 22 meeting ran about two hours, board chairman Stephen Reynolds said after the meeting. Before an audience of about 15, the board reviewed the 19-page Findings Statement one more time, making small changes in language, said Mr. Reynolds.

After the vote, the board began the required site plan review for the proposed store. Representatives from Primax attended the meeting, presented photos and discussed building design.

“We communicated the wish that the final design of the building be in keeping with standards in the town’s zoning law and harmonious with rural architecture,” said Mr. Reynolds.

He acknowledged that the architecture along that stretch of Route 9G, home to three gas stations and two banks, is not at this time “rural.” But, he said, the “long-term plan,” as outlined in the town’s revised Comprehensive Plan, “is to have renovated or new buildings be more ‘rural,’ to make the entry to town more appealing.”

Once the site plan is completed, the Planning Board will schedule a public hearing. Mr. Reynolds could not predict when that would be. For example, “the design of the building could impact technical issues such as drainage,” he said, which would then have to be addressed.

In the meantime, the FEIS and the Findings Statement should be available soon on the town’s website, germantownny.org, Mr. Reynolds said Tuesday.

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