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Distortions, misrepresentations, lies, hysteria, special interests and name-calling. Ahhhh, the sights and sounds of election season! But, no, I'm actually referring to the recent storm over the proposed Splash location being considered by the Bedford Zoning Board.
When you lay awake at night, pondering how our elected Washington representatives have put our great-great-great grandchildren in debt up to their navels, remember this microcosm of democracy that we're witnessing first hand. No doubt passions are running high and this issue has the ability to pit neighbor against neighbor, while remaining safely cocooned in the anonymity of the Internet.
But maybe we should take a collective deep breath, put our emotions and projections on hold, and leave room for some reasoned back-and-forth. Here is my opinion, and as always, I may be proven wrong:
1. At heart, this is an issue of propery rights. The property in question does not belong to the residents of Valerio Ct. It belongs to the owners who—within their rights—are developing and operating a legal business that brings value, jobs and taxes to our town. Don't we want to encourage businesses to grow in our town, to choose Bedford Hills over another site? Personally, I'd rather have a healthy business in that area than the current eyesore of rental trucks and an ice cream-free Carvel.
2. The proposed Splash location near Valerio Ct. is a mixed-use zoning area. To my knowledge, it has been this way for many years, if not decades. As was their choice, the residents bought homes right in the heart of 117's commercial district. Can they really be shocked that the property owners might want to develop their land for profit?
3. This issue has been under consideration for over 2 years and I'm sure the board has been thorough. (To my consternation, they were more than thorough when I was seeking variances during a home renovation:) So, I am sure they put a good deal of thought, research and time into how this proposal would affect the harmony within the community.
4. The residents definitely should be concerned about their children's safely. We all should. The potential for increased traffic means that residents, customers and the owners must be more vigilant and aware. The plans for the additional lane and sidewalk I've read about (though not seen) should help mitigate this. And if a gate is added, this will provide a layer of privacy and security for the families and their children.
5. As to the bus stop, I hope the town will work closely with the residents to find a new, more suitable location for the bus stop that is closer to the homes, or ask Splash to provide a crossing guard during the hours needed.
6. Some of the concerns voiced seem off base, and attempted to stir up emotions and raise concerns, without the proper foundation:
· The hysteria of "deaths at car washes"? Holy Suburban-Myth, Batman! This is news to me, and everyone I've spoken to. I would like to see some actual statistics provided before I make my final judgment.
· The icing up outside of car washes that makes for an unsafe conditions? I've lived here over 15 years and have driven by Splash—and sometimes gone in— hundreds of times. I've never seen any ice build up. If that were the case, I'd expect to see workers lining up asking for ice skates. And a raise.
Now, some will agree and some will disagree. And, though the discourse can be coarse (and off-course), at least we have the right to speak our minds, raise awareness, hire lawyers and fight perceived injustices.
And here's the best thing about our society: freedom of association. If you don't like Splash, their methods, their owners, or even their logo, you're free to go somewhere else. And now (silver lining)—with two car washes— you'll have a choice. And, if you get your wish, Splash will be out of business soon after they open.
And then we can all stare at an abandoned car wash, which is infinitely better than staring at an abandoned ice cream shop.
New Car Wash OKd for Splash's Bedford Hills Site
Neighbors Protest Car Wash Plans
Letter to the Editor: New Car Wash Site Presents Dangers