Thornwood Four Corners, LLC, has signed a lease for the former Getty gas station site at 657 Saw Mill River Road.
Thornwood’s proposal calls for construction of an 1,800-square-foot convenience store, installation of eight new gas pumps with a canopy, and 20 parking spaces with a driveway modification and sidewalk. The application does not request variances.
Thornwood completed remediation of the site, addressing soil contamination caused by an oil spill during the previous gas station’s tenancy. Ardsley Building Inspector Larry Tomasso explained that the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) oversaw the remediation, and information about the cleanup will be presented during the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) and site plan approval process.
On Oct. 5, the Ardsley Village Board resolved that they should be the lead agency in the environmental review of the proposed redevelopment, since it is the local agency with the broadest governmental powers to investigate the impacts of the proposed action.
“The declaration of intent to become the lead agency is a major step in the site plan approval process,” Tomasso noted.
Before the board can enact its lead role in the SEQR process, it must circulate among any potentially interested agencies a “Lead Agency Coordination Notice” and copies of the Environmental Assessment Form that will be used, indicating the board's intent to assume the role of lead agency. “We have to wait 30 days in case someone contests that,” Tomasso added.
The board must send the notice to the following parties, in case any of them might object to its acting as lead agency: the Ardsley Planning and Architectural Review boards, the Dobbs Ferry Village Board, the county Departments of Health and Planning, the DEC, state Department of Transportation, the Thruway Authority, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A draft site plan has been filed with the building department, and the village board has seen a preliminary drawing and formal application. Yonkers-based planning consultant David Smith will work with the Village on the project.
“We have what we need to get it going,” Tomasso stated. The full plans will be provided to the village board prior to the next board meeting, Nov. 16, when the Village will declare itself the lead agency, if there are no objections filed. “We’ll have the official site plans for review at village hall.”
The gas station would be the fourth on Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley. The controversy over whether another gas station should be allowed to operate at the old Getty location was resolved by the Westchester County Supreme Court, which upheld the Ardsley Zoning Board of Appeals interpretation that the village code permitted such use.
According to the code, a gas station, in the General Business District (B-1), is a legal “nonconforming” use of the property, and a gas station had been on the property for decades. In 2003, the code was amended to state that if a nonconforming business ceased operation for six months, it was considered abandoned, and lost its nonconforming status. Any business opening on the property afterward had to conform to B-1 regulations, and therefore a gas station would not be permitted.
The issues of whether the operator of the Getty station had let the business lapse for six months in 2016, and what constituted the precise definition of “abandonment,” had been murky and complex.
With the matter settled, on Sept. 18 Thornwood Four Corners leased the .53-acre property from its owners, the Thornwood-based Thorpe-McCartney Family Limited Partnership, and submitted to the village board an application for site plan approval.