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Planning Board Approves Bedford Hills Car Wash Site Plan

The Bedford Planning Board
The Bedford Planning Board Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. -- The Bedford Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan for Splash Car Wash’s proposed facility in Bedford Hills.

The board previously gave preliminary approval at its July 29 meeting.

Prior to the five-member board’s vote on Aug. 19, Chair Deirdre Courtney-Batson gave a recap of conditions for the approval. They include having a review of the site plan a year after a certificate of occupancy is issued or six months after the business’s full operation begins, with the most recent of the two counting. Other conditions involve lighting, plant maintenance and signage.

The project is proposed for a site at 570 North Bedford Road, across the street from a local First Niagara bank branch. Previously, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a special permit, Splash Chief Executive Officer Mark Curtis confirmed.

The approvals from both boards are the second for Splash. A previous version of the proposal included a use variance and two area variances, according to Charles Martabano, Splash’s attorney. The variances were not needed due to removal of an oil change facility and of parking from the site’s residential-zoned area, according to Martabano.

The previous approvals were vacated last year by state Supreme Court Judge Barbara Zambelli, who overturned the ZBA’s use variance approval. In a filing, she contended that Splash did not prove that it did not have a self-created hardship. Because the use variance was nixed, the approvals for area variances, a special permit and site plan were also nullified. The case, brought by neighbor Dino DeFeo, is currently under appeal.

DeFeo, who lives off of nearby Valerio Court, was present at the Planning Board’s meeting and a legal contention from his attorney, David Squirrell, was a subject of discussion. Joel Sachs, Bedford’s town attorney, noted a letter received from Squirrell bringing up an issue, which is contending that the use of the property constitutes an automotive service station or public garage and thus requires a 45-foot front-yard setback.

Sachs, who discussed the matter with the town’s director of planning and building inspector, said there is “no basis.” He noted that the same issue was brought before the Zoning Board in 2012 but that the board did not agree with Squirrel. He also mentioned a 2011 determination from the Planning Board not to require a setback. Sachs also noted the lack of legal challenges made pertaining to the matter.

Addressing the lack of a challenge previously, DeFeo explained that there were stronger arguments but justified another mention due to the application being new.

DeFeo, in a brief interview following the approval, said he was “disappointed.” He also did not rule out future litigation.

Reacting to the approval, Curtis said he was “very excited.”

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