GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Town of Greenburgh is considering granting Cumberland Farms a special permit to reactivate a gas station in Edgemont, however some residents are charging that the permit would be against the law.
Robert Bernstein, a longtime Edgemont resident and until June the president of the Edgemont Community Council, pointed to a specific provision in the town zoning code for Central Park Avenue, where the abandoned gas station is located. The provision forbids resuming operation on any nonconforming business that has been discontinued for more than six months.
The station has been shut down for more than three years. The permit would also allow the company to replace the service bays with a convenience store.
Bernstein, who is also an attorney specialized in commercial litigation, said if the permit is issued it could set a dangerous precedent.
“It would lead to confusion, chaos and likely litigation,” he said. “Down the road, other developers will say, ‘I want the same treatment.’”
He added that the Cumberland Farms could still get the permit if it applied for an exemption to the zoning code, a process called “variance.”
“That’s a perfectly legal way to do it,” Bernstein said.
Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, in a message posted on his blog defending the permit, highlighted that Cumberland Farms never intended to shut down the gas station, but was forced to make repairs.
Bernstein opposed this view, bringing up the same provision, which establishes that “intent to resume a nonconforming use shall not confer the right to do so.”
Town Attorney Timothy Lewis, however, said he and Building Inspector John Lucido are looking at the reasons provided by Cumberland Farms to close the gas station, which he said could have included tank repairs and problems with the operator supplying the fuel. Considering those reasons, they have interpreted so far that the company didn’t really discontinue the property’s use as gas station, even if the station was shut down.
“Preliminarily, we have made a determination that there was no discontinuation,” he said.
He emphasized that nothing has been made official.
“We haven’t decided on this issue yet,” Lewis said.
The permit has been submitted to a public hearing in July and still has to be voted by the Town Board.
Where do you stand on the permit issue? Comment below or on Facebook.