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Critics Say Zoning Change Caters To One Business

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Critics continue to blast a town-proposed zoning change, arguing the move caters to a single business.

The town council is expected to vote on a resolution Wednesday that could change the way gas stations are zoned along Central Avenue.

If approved, the move would pave the way for Cumberland Farms to build a gas station and convenience store at the Old Army Road intersection.

“Why are they doing all this work for one particular business?” asked Joe Flinter, owner of the Getty gas station on Central Avenue in Scarsdale. “That’s what the big disagreement is here.”

According to a years-old town code, the former Exxon station at the corner of Old Army Road and Central Avenue cannot be reopened as a gas station because it has been closed more than six months.

But now the Town Board is considering rewriting that law, allowing stations to reopen or make changes to their stores if they apply for a special permit within the next 180 days.

The permit requirement, along with the presence of Cumberland Farms at the former Exxon lot, has the potential to run Getty, the area’s last noncorporate-backed gas station, out of business, Flinter said Saturday.

“I’m working on pennies to begin with,” he said. “I don’t know what is going to happen.”

Supervisor Paul Feiner continues to tout the move as a competition-creator, a plus for cash-strapped Greenburgh motorists.

Flinter, who has owned the Getty station for 43 years, disagreed. He pointed to three gas stations a half-mile in either direction from his station that are boarded up, shut down because of they couldn't generate enough business.

“There is only so much gas you can sell,” he said. “Another station is unnecessary.”

Last week several Edgemont residents voiced similar concerns, slamming the town for catering to a single business and abandoning local loyalty.

Edgemont Community Council representative Robert Bernstein, however, told town council members that he isn't opposed to another gas station.

But limiting the time that existing stations may apply for a special-use permit to 180 days makes no sense, he said. 

If stations don’t apply for the permit within that time period, they are stuck, unable to make improvements or alter their stores.

As for the gas stations that are already boarded up, they risk being closed down forever with no chance at reopening, he said.

“You’re going to be stuck with two more eyesores,” Bernstein told the council last week. 

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