Missing engineers and guilt trips. Commission should deny Stewart’s permit request.

To the Editor:

Prior to the conclusion of the public hearing held in Voorheesville for Stewart’s special-use permit application, Mr. James Linman, the lawyer for one of the owners of Smith’s Tavern gave his closing remarks. No doubt Mr. Linman timed his remarks to be the last words that would echo in the audience’s mind. Although I did not appreciate how he dismissed villagers remarks as “emotional” and thus not valid concerns rooted in tangible facts, Mr. Linman’s remarks did bring up two questions.

The first question is: Where were the engineers? Most if not all of the public comments dealt with traffic and floodplain concerns. Presentations by the engineers about these two issues would have been beneficial.

Mr. Linman stated there are competent engineers on both sides and gave the impression that the issues have been resolved. However, the documents relating to Stewart’s application, available on the village of Voorheesville’s website, show that the impact on traffic and the floodplain are still being debated.

The traffic engineers for Stewart’s do not believe the projected 75 cars entering and exiting the store site during the peak a.m. hour and the 93 cars during the peak p.m. hour will impact traffic flow. The responses by the engineers working for the village question that position. Perhaps the differing opinion is why the engineers were missing.

The second question raised after hearing the lawyer speak is whether or not a community is responsible for an individual’s real estate investment. Mr. Linman stated he was speaking on behalf of his client who didn’t want to stand up “and beg” to let the project pass and thus give his client an above-market-value return on his investment.

I managed to get off the guilt train and ask myself this question: Must the Voorheesville residents make sure Smith’s Tavern garners a profitable return regardless of what hazards may befall the village as a whole?

If the answer is yes, I hope my community will help me sell my home, a home potentially next to two gas stations and convenient marts.

Smith’s Tavern will close one day. Replacing it with a busy, stop-and-go gas station and convenient mart would be detrimental to the village. I urge the owners of Smith’s to reconsider other offers. I urge the Village of Voorheesville Planning Commission to deny Stewart’s special use permit application for gas pumps and deny the project altogether.

Lea Warden


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