Long a fixture on North Bedford road, is now beginning its third year of trying to get from one side of the street to the other.
In a last week, the zoning board devoted two hours to Splash’s appeals for parking and fence variances at the former Carvel site as well as to hearing the determined pleas of nearby residents to see them denied.
After the arguments—most of them politely, if forcefully, presented and many of them familiar from previous meetings of not only the ZBA but —Chairman David Mencken scheduled written comments and asked both sides to return Sept. 5.
Charles V. Martabano, the Mount Kisco lawyer who represents Splash before both regulatory bodies, reminded everyone Wednesday that “this specific application has been under review by the planning board for last two years.” The planners, after scrutinizing such things as parking, traffic, lighting, landscaping and water consumption since July 2010, appear close to approving the car wash’s proposed site plan.
Splash had scrubbed autos for years on the west side of Route 117, at 527 North Bedford Road, when it lost its lease in 2010. Not ready to leave town, CEO Mark Curtis looked east, to the former Carvel site at 570 North Bedford, as home for a new Splash. It would offer lubrication and detailing services along with automated and hand washing lines for autos.
With curb cuts eliminated along busy Route 117, plans called for traffic to enter and leave the facility via Valerio Court, a quiet side street. Just beyond its intersection with Route 117, however, Valerio slopes abruptly upward to homes nestled on land subdivided some half century ago into four lots, three of them occupied. Residents there insist the proposed car wash would become a noxious presence, generating unwanted autos and noise and generally driving down the value of their property.
“They [the Splash developers] have chosen the most intensive use of this property,” said Mount Kisco lawyer David J. Squirrel, who represents two of the homeowners, Dino DeFeo and Gregory R. DiNapoli.
“The traffic will choke out the residents of Valerio Court,” Squirrel predicted. Calling the private road an “extremely unique street,” he asserted that the zoning board must view it as a “residential cul-de-sac.”
But under current—and likely any future—Splash plans, Valerio Court would instead be widened to accommodate the car wash’s anticipated traffic.
Lydia Donohue, a retired Bedford teacher, beseeched the board to retain Valerio Court’s cul-de-sac character. A 30-year resident of the neighborhood, Donohue said she had been told an unnamed Bedford town employee, using leftover town macadam, long ago paved a dirt road that is now Valerio Court. Her home—built by the same town employee—officially faces South Beechwood Road. But Donohue said access to Valerio had been one of the demands when she and her husband bought the house in 1982.
The car wash proposal is “obviously affecting the value of my property,” Donohue said. “It’s making the value of all the houses up here go down.”
Pointing to the applicant’s color-coded map displays, she advised board members, “If this goes through, if you give a variance for this yellow part here, and you put an eight-foot wall up on top of where you blasted off that big, big sheer rock thing, you are going to affect my water, you’re going to affect my basement, you’re going to affect the value of my home. So, I don’t want you to do it.”
What do you think about the proposed car wash site? Is there a market for two car washes in the same area? Let us know in the comments.