Residents Voice Concern Over Proposed Auto Repair Shop
May 26, 2022—A proposed auto repair shop in Saugerties, New York, is facing opposition from the people who live in the neighborhood near its potential location.
According to Hudson Valley One, Ryley O'Connor has proposed a 60-foot wide by 125-foot long building with a 20-by-30-foot extension to serve as office space.
O'Connor currently rents the building where he operates his auto shop out of in town. This proposal would allow him to move to a new space that he would own.
Many residents of the area near the proposed shop location are not shy about voicing their concerns. They fear the shop will increase traffic in the neighborhood, make the roads more dangerous and add an what in their opinion would be an unsightly building amongst their homes.
During a public hearing by the local Planning Board, of which O'Connor was present, residents made their voices heard on both sides of the argument.
Resident Pat Melville said the shop simply “does not belong in this neighborhood. And I’m sure none of you people would let it get put next to your house. I don’t understand with the zoning that he could put a building like that in that spot.”
Under the current zoning rules, O'Connor's shop is allowed in the neighborhood but Melville argued that the rules were different when he moved there and he wasn't notified about a change.
People rose to O'Connor's defense as well. A man named Joe Puma, who lives near O'Connor's current shop, said, “I am more concerned about America and the people of Saugerties myself. That young man has built a business that we all can be proud of. He is trying to establish a business to provide for our neighborhood here. We should support somebody like this. There’s nobody better than him to show what Saugerties is all about, building a business and providing for the neighborhood. Shame on us if we don’t do that.”
O'Connor tried to quell some of the concerns, stating that the building would not be an eyesore and most of the traffic would be routed on a nearby highway so it wouldn't disturb residences.
Other concerns included noise and the potential that the building may block the view from neighborhood homes. There was even a question asked of the Board regarding residents getting a tax reduction.
Overall, the purpose of the hearing was to review the application and get some questions answered, but it ultimately turned into something else.
“This is a public hearing, and the Planning Board is trying to take comments from the public so we can consider your comments while we look at this application," said Planning Board chair Howard Post in the article. "It’s turning into an argument, and we’re not going to have that.”