State nixes Craryville intersection traffic light

COPAKE–No traffic light is needed at the Craryville intersection of State Route 23, County Route 7 and Craryville Road, where a controversial new gas station/convenience store is proposed.

At the Copake Planning Board’s May 2 meeting, Chairman Bob Haight said he had finally received the state Department of Transportation (DOT) decision about whether a traffic light is needed at the four-way intersection based on a traffic study performed by Crieghton Manning Engineering, LLP, of Albany for the gas station applicant, GRJH, Inc.

Submitted nearly a year ago, the 88-page traffic assessment study, presented at the June 2018 Planning Board meeting, was a part of the applicant’s required Highway Work Permit Application to the DOT. The detailed study used data collected via automatic traffic recorders on Route 23, County Route 7 and Craryville Road in May 2018 and data collected by DOT on Route 23 in April 2018 at a continuous traffic count station east of the intersection. Included in the report analysis were: sight distances, accidents, collision diagrams, capacity and queuing, types of vehicles by day and hour, turning movements, speed statistics, traffic patterns and volumes.

The study concluded that intersection conditions do not “meet the minimum criteria for the installation of a traffic signal.”

In an April 25 email, DOT Regional Highway Work Permit Coordinator Lance Gorney, PE, said, “The study did not show any major traffic issues and we have no further comments. The TIS [traffic impact study] is acceptable and no additional information is required.”

Among the many objections opponents have voiced about the 3,240 square-foot gas station/convenience store is that it will generate increased traffic at an already dangerous intersection. The site is located on the northwest corner of the intersection between the Craryville Post Office to the west and the Craryville United Methodist Church to the east.

Also at the May 2 meeting, GRJH President Alicia Metz and Chairman Haight discussed storm water drainage issues. In one scenario, GRJH would have to change the size of a pipe that runs under Route 23 from the existing 24-inches in width to an increased 30-inches. An alternative solution, which seems more agreeable to the applicant, the board and DOT, due the expensive and disruptive nature of installing a new pipe under the road, is the use of detention ponds on the 1.7-acre gas station property. GRJH engineers are currently working on such a plan.

In preparation for the hiring of an engineering consultant for the Planning Board, Mr. Haight said Town Attorney Ken Dow had updated the town code agreement giving the town supervisor authority to execute escrow agreements when the Planning or Zoning boards need to hire professional consultants. (The Town Board approved the measure at its May 9 meeting.)

Once the engineer is hired at the expense of the applicant, that person will be asked to review the lighting, the storm drain oil/water separator on the property, the gas distribution safety system and all the tanks and monitors included with them and the reports by hydrogeologists for the applicant and Save Craryville, a community coalition opposing the project.

Jean Patota, hydrogeologist for GRJH, submitted additional information for the May 2 meeting disputing the boundaries and location of the aquifer under the proposed gas station site.

Speaking during the public hearing, which has remained open since November 2017, Amy Davidson of Hillsdale said she opposes this project because of her environmental and climate change concerns. She recited from a June 2011 resolution adopted by the Town of Copake regarding climate change and said the gas station and the use of fossil fuels “flies in the face of the Climate Smart resolution.”

Save Craryville Director Jamie Carano of Hillsdale said there has been some miscommunication about the number of fueling stations allowed at the gas station. She said the number should be limited to 6 not 12.

Mr. Haight said in a follow-up phone call after the meeting, that the station will have a total of six nozzles on three pumps.

The GRJH proposal will continue to be reviewed and the public hearing will remain open at the Planning Board’s next meeting, June 6 at 7 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

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