To all Planning Board Members,

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From: DARLENE BELL [mailto:lawzr4u@yahoo.com] Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 4:10 PM

To: Planning Board <PlanningBoard@townofbethlehem.org>; John Smolinsky <jsmolinsky@townofbethlehem.org>

Subject: Hoffman Car Wash Nov 7th Meeting concerns To all Planning Board Members,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your due diligence with regard to the Hoffman Development Corporation project at the Hoffman Car Wash location at 55 Delaware Avenue, Delmar. I was impressed by each and every member of the board for their questions to the applicant’s representative, Marty Andrews as well as raising concerns considerate of their application for the installation of automated tellers at this business site. It was also evident by the questions and comments made by board members that the concerns raised in my emails to the board as well as any other sources to which information was gathered was individually addressed for response by Marty Andrews. Regardless of the outcome of future discussions and or actions in this matter it is evident that the professionalism and attention to detail as well as community concern is heard by this board members and the manner to which I observed each members participation at the November 7th meeting is impressive.

Having been present at the November 7th meeting and having taken the initiative to not only talk to staff members of Hoffman’s Car Wash, patrons and other community members I find it imperative I offer the information below for your further consideration regarding the Hoffman Development Corporation’s application for automated tellers at the Delmar Car Wash location. During Mr. Andrews presentation there were several comments made in response to questions and or comments by the board. I think it is important to recognize that Mr. Andrews is only a visitor to the site and he is not present on day to day operations at the car wash location. Therefore, he cannot accurately comment on pedestrian traffic by customers or employees. There is currently no pedestrian safety walkways from the vacuum area to the building where the change machine is located on the building causing pedestrians to currently walk among entering vehicles from Delaware Avenue for the car wash and jiffy lube as well as any customers or employees who may be exiting the services location with their vehicles. There is an island throughout the location however it is a raised landscaped area and is not created for safe

pedestrian travel. When a board member raised the question with regard to vehicles that may be waiting for services and be backed up to the end of the lot which abuts the parking area for staff members, was there enough room for staff vehicles to enter and exit their parking area. The answer seemed to indicate minimal usage daily by staff where in fact staff come and go on many different shifts throughout the day beginning at 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and these are all start times for employees of the car wash. Jiffy Lube has their own schedule of employees coming and going. Therefore, there is consistent motor vehicle activity at the portion of the lot proposed for the teller placement.

It was also mentioned how the landscape island was beautiful, well maintained and help to conceal property activity. I agree the landscape and vegetation and floral’s are beautiful when in bloom and do in fact “hide” certain aspects of the business during the months of April through early November when in bloom. However, the vegetation is cut late fall leaving a barren full view of the property offering no coverage or concealment of any proposed steel construction and teller area, let alone the brightness of the proposed color scheme of bright red and bright blue as seen at the other mentioned locations in Troy and East Greenbush, NY.. Therefore, when motorists and pedestrians enter the Town of Bethlehem via the bridge this property is the first property seen in our town – I don’t think a steel beam with lighting and automated machinery

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along with the current row of vacuums along the landscape are aesthetically pleasing. After all isn’t the objective of the Road Diet to create a more “community beautification” feel to the town’s environment along with creating a safer travel area for our motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. This is just an opinion but taking into consideration all I have heard in meetings, discussions and community conversations town government is looking to have a more

community than corporate cold feel to our Delaware Avenue corridor.

I would also like to mention that I drove to both the Troy and East Greenbush car wash locations mentioned in Marty Andrews presentation and neither property has the slightest similarity to the Delmar car wash location. I have attached photos from those locations so that the board may see the vast size of these properties in comparison, the depth and distance from Hoosick Street for the Troy location to where their automated tellers are placed, a far distance from the view of Hoosick Street travelers, unlike where the Delmar location will have them in close proximity for view and location relative to Delaware Avenue. Also there is no issue for ingress and egress to this business unlike Delmar where there is the exiting from Old Delaware Avenue, Grant Street, Laundromat and Tastee Freeze and no turn lane on Delaware Avenue. At the East Greenbush location the colors are bold, the location is a business area and in no way is relative of a “community setting” that our town government is trying to achieve with the changes in the Delaware Avenue corridor via the Road Diet. Although during the Nov. 7th meeting it was mentioned the positive effect a turn lane would have via the Road Diet in the area of Hoffman’s Tastee Freeze, Old Delaware and Grant Street it may ease some traffic concerns and minimize the vehicle operators margin of error or judgment when exiting Hoffman’s it will not eliminate the crashes that occur. Let us not forget how traffic backs up and will continue to back up during busy days at Hoffman’s, perhaps you do not recall the city bus that hit a car and that car hit a pepsi truck, or my neighbor exiting from Old Delaware Ave, T-Boned on Delaware totaling his family vehicle, losing months from work all because of the inability to see around traffic backing up in both directions. This has no bearing on the Greeter as stated by Mr. Andrews, if anything the greeter works to move traffic as quickly as possible by scanning the vehicles and prepayment prior to entering the tunnel of the car wash, therefore, there is no delay when entering the car wash. The car wash conveyor has only two speeds so regardless of anything there is only one process. Heavy volume days can only be accommodated by increasing the track speed, lines cannot be minimized in any other way. With an automated teller on heavy volume days the cars cannot be pre scanned to move the cars along to a waiting area instead they will back up waiting for each customer to go through the automation process continuing to create back ups on

Delaware Avenue. The teller machines are stated to be placed by the turn on the current landscape island meaning there is at least a 5-6 car distance from the entrance of the tunnel which will end up being the “holding area” during a busy volume day. So there is no

improvement to the traffic issue with the installation of the automated teller. I also think it is important to recognize that there are two proposed lanes coming into the car wash, one for unlimited sticker holders and one for purchasers, these two lanes MERGE into one lane going into the car wash tunnel – consider that with a lot full of waiting cars for Jiffy Lube, some days up to 12 cars are waiting in the lot. Consider all the pedestrian traffic on those days and the amount of movement with the customers and employees, lets not forget the customer using the vacuums along these two lanes entering the proposed teller lines.

It is my understanding that the location will lose 1 staff member with the installation of the teller machines, however, those currently in the greeter position will be losing between $5,000 and $9000.00 a year in sales commission with the installation of automation, loss of customer service for the customer, loss of assistance by a staff member, loss of community relation at the place of business. It is also my understanding that staff has already been reduced by yet another staff member due to the business owners deciding to no longer offer back brushing to the customer, which sometimes leads to vehicles needing to be rewashed a second and third time due to the

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reduction of this prior service. That would bring a total loss of staff to two at this location as well as an impacting income loss to the staff responsible for greeting.

This location has no comparison to the other locations in Troy and East Greenbush, NY unlike the impression Marty Andrews offered in his presentation to the board on Nov. 7, 2019. Lastly I need to mention that this applicant’s request for a Geological Waiver at this site. That request seems to be an unreasonable one due to the presence of the potential for land shift, in an area that has already had a landslide, whereas this property lost at least 24 feet of egress area at the end of the tunnel for the car wash and Jiffy Lube lost its entire exiting area. With water usage, wear, weather, weight of standing vehicles etc., it doesn’t seem like a feasible or reasonable request from the applicant. In the early 1900’s when the Albany Schoharie Tpk (Route 443) constructed the first Albany Bethlehem Bridge it was all fill that was placed in this area for the construction of such structures. That fill remains today, weakened by time, weather, drainage, traffic and weight that was not thought of years ago during original construction. Coupling that with the effects of a landslide in the same area as the business location, foresight would lead one to believe a waiver is not in the best interest of the town or this property. I think it is important to remember the most recent landslide incident at the Normanside Country Club and the Towns mention of involvement in that matter. I think consideration by the board to leave the applicant accountable for all aspects of geological and seismology issues would be of sound thought, as the backlash should the land succumb to a slide I would think the planning board would want no part in a waiver to the property parcel mentioned by the applicant for this proposed project.

I appreciate your consideration and review of the commentary in this correspondence. I feel very strongly about this mater and there are aspects of proposing such changes that go against the atmosphere and environmental cohesion for this area along the Delaware Avenue corridor. The Road Diet should offer the potential for motorists, pedestrian and cyclist relief while traveling this roadway but the proposal for an automated change to this business not only impacts the physical view of the property but will have an effect negatively for the customer and pedestrian utilizing the business at this location. Perhaps in the best interest of everyone upon further review of the application from Hoffman Development Corp. suggestions should be made to the applicant to make the current property a safer property to utilize and patronize by creating pedestrian walkways from their vacuum area and staff parking areas.

Thank you for your attention to this mater and your consideration of fact moving forward to your decision regarding the applicant’s request at 55 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, NY

Please note the pics attached are from East Greenbush Troy and Delmar … Sincerely,

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