See the Wiccopee Press page for important notice on: For Immediate Release – Stewart's Gas Shops Fails to Comply with Public Hearing Notice Requirements
Save Wiccopee Organization attended the April 14th, 2015 East Fishkill ZBA meeting where there was to be a discussion on whether the ZBA would consider being lead agency regarding the Stewart's Shops Gas Station proposal for Historic Wiccopee Hamlet, or pass on it to the Planning Board. As it was last item on the agenda, we waited almost 2 1/2 hours. It came up for discussion and then only one board member made reference to the 3 page letter and 16 page supporting document that Save Wiccopee Organization provided the board ahead of the meeting. It was suggested by SWO that the ZBA consider and really think about being the lead agency, as they were lead agency about 10 years ago when the property owner Tom Scanlon tried to get a proposal for a gas station on this site. The Scanlon proposal and the Stewart's Shops proposal are eerily similar in their scope and negative impacts on the community.
Even to the most causal observer, there was no discussion and it appeared clear that this matter was decided ahead of the meeting's discussion. It appeared to be opened, discussed and the ZBA passed/declined on being lead agency in about 3 minutes total time!
Need we say more. Yes, read on...
Stewart's Shops, Corp., of Stewart’s Ice Cream fame, plans to build a gas station, a massive 4000 square foot convenience store and commercial building of yet unknown purpose at 1850 Route 52 in the heart of our historic Wiccopee Hamlet! The development promises to bring with it traffic, noise, littering and light pollution. These impacts will destroy the historic character and quaint charm of our proud community, which has been in existence since the 1700s. Even worse, the enormous underground storage tanks, which hold thousands of gallons of gasoline at a time, could lead to lasting contamination in the Wiccopee Aquifer and Fishkill Creek watershed. In other words, our way of life and the very water we drink and air we breathe is at risk!
Stewart’s has secretly managed to get on the Zoning Board of Appeals’ agenda for March 10th, 2015 pulled - this meeting canceled. (Stewart's ZBA application was placed on the agenda before a number of standard procedural steps were undertaken. SWO will continue to vigorously monitor this application to ensure it does not receive favorable treatment and that the residents' rights are not trampled upon.) Therefore, immediate action is essential if we are to take action to stop this monstrosity from happening. Please come out and support our cause to protect Wiccopee Hamlet from this dangerous and poorly conceived project. Save Wiccopee!
Wiccopee Hamlet exists today much as it did in the 1800's. Records show structures dating back to the 1700's. We've fought off a gas station before 10 years ago. It was a bad idea then and a worse idea now. Since that time, we've seen that once ground water is contaminated it can never be fully restored. In many cases, communities have to find new sources of drinkable water to survive. All the while, the residents and public are exposed to carcinogens and harmful chemicals, from exposure to contaminated water, soil and even the vapors rising from the ground! A contamination plume could extend as far as the Fishkill Township. The Shenandoah Superfund site is a perfect example. A decade after contamination was found in their water table, they finally got water from Fishkill only to find out that its new water supply suffers from salt contamination! East Fishkill Precision Superfund site residents are STILL awaiting a solution to the water and vapor contamination caused by TCE and TCA water contamination – for over a decade now! What fate will befall Wiccopee if we lose our pristine and irreplaceable water supply like these communities?
About a year ago, most nearby residents were invited to a “charrette” hosted by East Fishkill and Stewart's. One of the residents more appropriately referred to the meeting as a charade, as it became very obvious to everyone there that Stewart's was simply telling us what they were going to do, and not at all listening to the fact that virtually everyone in attendance was against a gas station in our historic hamlet. Then, just as now, we had serious concerns about putting a gas station near/over vital water resources. Stewart’s tried to divide the residents into groups to discuss "important" things like siding, or whether a walkway should be concrete or gravel. They must have thought us all real country bumpkins in describing lighting from their proposed site like 'moonlight' falling on neighboring properties. Well, when we see the glow and halo around any gas station, moonlight is the furthest thing that comes to mind.
If you think Stewart’s has our community’s interests at heart or is going to play by the rules, think again. SWO members attended an East Fishkill Planning Board meeting February 17, 2015 where Stewart's presented maps. After the discussion, Stewart's representative went to the parking lot, and SWO members left too. We found out later that Stewart's went back in and asked the Board for a public hearing date to be set. The Board agreed, and set the public hearing for May 5th, 2015. Comments we heard from SWO members after the fact were: "This was a sneaky thing to do, after concerned residents left.", and "We would have thought the Planning Board should have told them, 'you've had your discussion, which was on the public agenda, the public involved have left, if you want to do further business come back for the next agenda.' It smacks of things being done in the 'dark of the night'." and "It may not have been illegal or procedurally wrong, but sure seems intrinsically unfair to the residents and property owners." The SWO members are not wrong. Stewart’s is going to try its hardest to avoid public comment on its gas station plan because it knows that, like before, the community will rally to fight this plan, which has only Stewart’s interests in mind.
IMPORTANT DATES – March 10th, 2015 – ZBA non-public session with Stewarts (This meeting was canceled. Stewart's ZBA application was placed on the agenda before a number of standard procedural steps were undertaken. SWO will continue to vigorously monitor this application to ensure it does not receive favorable treatment and that the residents' rights are not trampled upon.) and May 5th, 2015 - Planning Board Public hearing. But please check agendas - they might try to switch it around to get less attendance. We'll post updates and send out email notices for those signed up for our emailings. See Wiccopee Contact page.
See what you can do to help – below!
Tell your friends and neighbors. We need a 'call to arms' to 'rally the troops' and get the word out about Stewart’s plan.
Put out signs. Contact Save Wiccopee for more information on this.
Call and write to the East Fishkill Town elected officials - each one of them, and the East Fishkill Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeal. See contacts below.
Write 'Letters to the Editor' at the Poughkeepsie Journal - and Southern Dutchess News - .
Use the links below in the footer to spread the word about our website and causes via Facebook and Twitter. Parents discuss this with your children. Kids, tell your parents. Stay informed about news, developments and attend meetings whenever possible. Tell Stewart's to find a more suitable location that won't impact historic Wiccopee Hamlet. Save Wiccopee!
Door in the Middle House: Circa 19th century, this 5 x 2 bay, 2 story and an attic vernacular house retains its original center entry door with transom as well as some 6/6 sash and end chimneys. The east addition contains 3/2 sash. According to current owner, Robert Odell, the side entry that is now used to enter the house was a later alteration. *
* Excerpts from East Fishkill's Survey of Historic Structures July 2001
The house next to the Wiccopee General Store, at the entrance to the hamlet, this vernacular 5 x 2 bay, 2 story house has peaked gables on its front and sides, bracketed eaves, end chimneys and an entry with transom. In 1885, Mr. L.W. Genung owned both the house and the general store next to it. On the 1798 map, a house was owned by Talman on or near this site. *
The Store serves as a reminder of the time when the Wiccopee Hamlet was the center of town in the 1800s. It served as both general store and post office for many years. G. Russell is noted as the store owner and postmaster on the 1867 Beers map. L.W. Genung is referred to as the store owner and postmaster in the Wiccopee-Johnsville Review from 1885-89. * Excerpts from East Fishkill's Survey of Historic Structures July 2001
As you can see, this map from East Fishkill's Historic Structures Inventory, shows just how much of Historic Wiccopee Hamlet, and how contiguous and the density of historic homes, is comprised of unique valuable historic structures, existing today, much as they did in the 1800's!
Map, supplied by Stewart's Shops, shows their proposed project, outlined in blue for a large Stewart's Shops Gas Station and another large commercial building. As one can plainly see these will dominate and occupy about half of Historic Wiccopee Hamlet's crescent or pie shape.
Stewart's proposes putting a road straight out to Route 52 which would funnel, force and divert all traffic past Stewart's, possibly closing off the current East and West exits onto Route 52 leaving residents only one way to access/exit to Route 52. Residents near the proposed cul-de-sacs are worried about increased loitering, crime, garbage and other nuisance activities at the cul-de-sacs.
Stewart's proposed plan is to tear three historic buildings down and you'd see a Stewart's Shop (non-de script, architecturally uninteresting and insignificant commercial buildings) as you drive into our quaint Historic Hamlet.
Coming down Fishkill Hook Road towards the Hamlet, from say Fishkill Farms, instead of seeing Historic Wiccopee General Store, proposals show one would see a Stewart's Shops Gas Station sign in the intersection of our residential Historic Hamlet.
Gasoline contains more than 100 other chemicals including toluene, benzene, xylene ... many things a person does not want to drink, nor breathe. Gasoline is considered dangerous for your health because it is poisonous. We have long maintained that potential harmful operations should not be built over a vital aquifer and along the Fishkill Creek Watershed. Accidents do and will happen. Read our Environment page
East Fishkill Town Hall
330 Route 376
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
We were informed that NONE of the East Fishkill Council persons have a Town email address. Hard to believe in this day and age. So any email correspondence can be sent to the Supervisors secretary, Gina Grippo. Her address is as follows – firstname.lastname@example.org When you send the email to her it should state in the email that It is requested that copies of the email be printed and placed in each of the mailboxes for each Town Board member. Please keep all coorespondence polite, professional and to the points.
• Peter Cassidy - Council Person
cell phone: 845-742-2892
• Nicholas D'Alessandro - Council Person
cell phone: 845-742-2578
• Tom Franco - Council Person
cell phone: 914-204-6188
• Emanuele Marinaro - Council Person
cell phone: 646-296-5360
• John Hickman, Jr. - Supervisor
East Fishkill Town Hall
Planning and Zoning Dept.
330 Route 376
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
PO Box 435
Saratoga Springs, New York 12866
Marge J. Horton
Dutchess County Legislator District 21 East Fishkill
2 Anthony Court
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
(H) 226-4646 (Fax) 486-2113
Please pass/forward this information on to your friends and neighbors!