Plans for a gas station at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Yorktown are moving forward following a state Supreme Court judge’s ruling.
Earlier this month, Judge Gretchen Walsh of the 9th Judicial District upheld land-use approvals granted to BJ’s Wholesale Club by the town of Yorktown. Those approvals allow BJ’s to build a gas station at its existing site in the Staples Plaza on Route 202 in Yorktown Heights.
David Steinmetz of White Plains law firm Zarin & Steinmetz, who represented BJ’s, said the gas station “will continue to bring economic growth, aesthetic improvements and vitality to the town and surrounding community.”
Steinmetz added that BJ’s aims to obtain a building permit and move forward with construction shortly.
“We fully expect the introduction of gasoline sales at BJ’s in Yorktown to become a reality in 2017,” he said.
In 2015, local independent gas station owners and Yorktown Smart Growth, a citizens development watchdog group, filed a lawsuit against the town that challenged a rezoning that would allow for the construction of the gas station. The defendants argued that the Westborough, Mass.-based big-box store could undercut gas prices and cited traffic studies that showed a sharp uptick in congestion should the gas station be added.
In her ruling, Walsh determined that the town’s approvals were rational and were consistent with Yorktown’s comprehensive plan and zoning code. She also upheld the town’s determination that the gas station, which will be located in an underutilized section of an existing parking lot, would not pose any significant adverse environmental impacts.
Jonathan Nettlefield, chair of Yorktown Smart Growth’s board of directors, said it was “disappointing that the town is apparently intent on building up an old-fashioned, out-of-date kind of commercial development along an already failing – in terms of traffic – vehicular corridor.”
Nettlefield said that while he believes Yorktown “desperately needs more commercial development to contribute to a tax base that is over-reliant on residential,” the gas station is “the wrong kind of commercial development.”
“Yorktown already has plenty of gas stations,” he said. “The comprehensive plan clearly states that development should be directed within the five business hamlets in a way that promotes a more walkable, mixed-use kind of environment.”
“There is a complete lack of imagination in Yorktown, so it will continue to be a vehicular-centric town with no ‘there’ there,” he said.
The defendants in the case also filed a lawsuit against Garden City-based Breslin Realty Development Corp., a developer that planned to construct a 151,092-square-foot Costco Wholesale store and gas station on a vacant site just a short distance from BJs. Costco pulled out of the project in 2016, and Breslin Realty now aims to build a Lowe’s home improvement center, two eateries and a bank on the property that is next to the Taconic State Parkway.