Pave they must, but where will water go?


CHATHAM–The Village Board met last week with Tom Lewis, a real estate representative from Stewart’s Shops company to review site plan and architectural drawings of the convenience store and gas station proposed for Church Street/state Route 203 next to the pedestrian gate at the county fairgrounds.

At the April 22 meeting, Mr. Lewis asked the board for permission to create an exit for the proposed store on Cottage Place, the dirt road that leads to the fairground entrance.

The Village Planning Board has also been meeting with representatives from company about the project, and the Planning Board is the village agency that will determine whether to issue Stewart’s a permit to build a new shop in the village. Planners will discuss the size of the signs at the site Monday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial. The meeting is open to the public.

Despite the Planning Board’s role, the company had to come before the Village Board last Thursday’s to request approval to create what is referred to as a “curb cut” for the new exit. Mayor Paul Boehme said he had no objection to that change, but he and other board members did have concerns about drainage issues on the street.

“Three hundred sixty days of the year it’s not an issue,” said Trustee David Chapman. But he indicated that there could be water flow issues during the heavily attended Columbia County Fair held each year just before and during Labor Day weekend.

The village has not yet resolved its failure to comply with state regulations on the handling of storm water runoff, and trustees are worried that the increased pavement in the plans for the proposed store would only make matters worse.

Mr. Lewis assured the board that an engineer for Stewart’s had already contacted the village engineer and would talk about the designs further. “I am very confident we will do the drainage the village wants,” said Mr. Lewis. He said that his company is conservative about the amount of blacktop it uses.

The board approved the new exit as long as the company looks into the drainage. “I think it would be a welcome addition to the village,” said Mr. Chapman of the new shop.

But Trustee Lael Locke said she was still concerned about the amount of asphalt and was having trouble envisioning how much of it there would be. She also said that there were some questions about proposed signs, but she reserved that discussion until the Planning Board meeting.

Trustee George Grant, the village water and sewer commissioner, said the village is currently monitoring the flow in the sewer lines as part of the effort to comply with the state regulations. Village officials are also looking into buying or borrowing cameras that can be inserted into the sewer system to look for cracks. A demonstration by a company with cameras found cracks in main line pumping about 10,000 gallons into the system, Mr. Grant said.

Next up for the village board is the budget. Mayor Boehme said that he has many of the village department budgets to review, and he hopes to have a budget hearing by the next meeting, Thursday May 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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