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Greenburgh Delays Gas Station Zoning Decision

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – A controversial zoning change to allow gas stations on Central Avenue in Edgemont has been put on hold as the town council continues to sort through the details of the plan.

The Greenburgh Town Council opted Wednesday to delay any vote on a proposal that would revamp the way gas stations are zoned along Central Park Avenue until next month.

Council member Francis Sheehan said that since minor wording changes had been made in the past week, the board could not legally vote on the proposal at Wednesday’s meeting. Instead, law mandates that council members must wait until the law has sat unchanged for eight days.

“We heard from the public and we made some changes,” he said, referring to last week’s public comment on the law.

But according to Sheehan, the heart of the proposed law that would legalize gas stations along Central Avenue remains the same, which has been the subject of debate among gas station owners and a handful of vocal Edgemont residents.

Critics argue the town is altering its law for the sole purpose of allowing a single business, Cumberland Farms, to build on the abandoned lot at Old Army Road and Central Park Avenue.

Some people have said the addition of the retailer will run the road’s sole non-corporate backed gas station out of business. Others have raised objections to the idea that existing gas stations would have to apply for a special permit within 180 days or risk being permanently shut down should they happen to close for six months or longer, either for renovation or because they went out of business.

Town officials have responded to these arguments by saying existing gas stations along Central Avenue aren't in compliance with the current zoning code. The town said it is simply trying to give the businesses a chance to legalize their property and allow the development of other stations in the future.

“It makes no sense to me,” Edgemont Community Council representative Robert Bernstein told the board last week for the permit requirement.

Even Greenburgh Town Council member Ken Jones questioned the 180-day rule this week at a town board work session.

“I don’t understand the logic behind it,” he said.

But as Sheehan explained, the town has to consider the ideas of the Comprehensive Plan, which will be unveiled later this year or early next year.

Not wanting to tie the hands of the comprehensive committee, the board opted to leave some leeway in regards to the future of the street, he said.  This plan will simply tide the town over until the Comprehensive Plan can determine what the future of Greenburgh and Central Avenue will look like.

“We support the gas stations that are there,” Sheehan said. “After six months whatever is coming out of comprehensive plan will determine the future.”

The board is expected to vote on the zoning change during its April 11 meeting.

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