Letter: New Splash Car Wash Bad For Neighbors

  • Comments (4)
Proposed site of a Splash Car Wash at Route 117 and Valerio Court in Bedford Hills.
Proposed site of a Splash Car Wash at Route 117 and Valerio Court in Bedford Hills. Photo Credit: Google maps

BEDFORD, N.Y. – The Bedford Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Letters may be emailed to lbutton@dailyvoice.com.

Sept. 30, 2012
To the Editor:

This letter is an appeal to reason, and we're hoping that the Bedford Zoning Board of Appeals reads it before its next hearing. By way of background, the Splash Car Wash chain asked for permission to build a new facility one block away from our homes, and at a zoning board meeting earlier this month was granted verbal approval (dependent on certain conditions) to proceed. The final decision is to be made at the board's next meeting and, if final approval is given, we the residents of Valerio Court in Bedford Hills will be fearful for the safety, sanity and lives of our families.

Why are we terrified? Specifically, the proposed Splash facility would be a high-capacity operation (including car wash, oil change and detailing) that borders our private property, across both commercial and residentially zoned property. Although the site is located on Route 117, the Bedford Planning and zoning boards are dictating the only access to the facility would be via Valerio Court — a two-lane road (one lane each way) that's the only road leading to our residential cul de sac. This edict is to save Route 117 from the traffic and congestion this facility will no doubt create.

This presents a highly dangerous situation to all of us, for a number of reasons:

1. There is a documented history of accidents and deaths at other Splash locations in Westchester and nearby Connecticut.

2. There is a school bus stop on the corner, and our children would have to walk past the Splash driveway entrances to get to the bus stop.

3. The facility will have the capacity to process 260 cars per hour. Directing all access to and from this facility through Valerio Court may save Route 117, but what will happen to our small residential street? Making matters worse, the entrance will be within a residentially zoned property 30 feet from a private driveway.

4. Customers who decide not to wait on a long line to get into the car wash would have only one option to get out of that line, which would be to drive into our residential cul de sac to turn around. Children regularly ride their bikes in this cul de sac.

5. With up to 260 cars per hour, the facility would generate considerable air pollution (potentially causing respiratory issues), as well as noise pollution.

6. During winter, water runoff from the cars would freeze, creating icy, hazardous conditions on a road where children have to walk.

And, adding insult to injury, the Martabano family, the owner of the property for the proposed Splash and the owners of Valerio Court, have been making aggressive moves against us, including threatening our access to Route 117 and putting stakes on our property, claiming those stakes represent borders of Valerio Court which they would be entitled to use.

Sadly, despite these alarming facts, the zoning board is seriously considering Splash's requests for variances and zoning changes that would allow this to happen. By doing so, they're putting our health, safety and very lives at risk as well as setting a dangerous precedent that could allow other communities to grant similar requests. And as for our property values, they're guaranteed to plummet.

Although we raised all of these issues at the previous zoning board meeting, the Board's verbal approval seems to indicate they fell on deaf years. That's why we're hoping this letter, read by our community, will bring clarity and sanity to this serious situation. If this is allowed to happen to us, it can readily happen to everyone.

Dino and Karen DeFeo along with the residents of Valerio Court

  • 4

Comments (4)

The ignorance of the Zoning Board is inexcusable in this case. The main point of Zoning is completely being ignored, this is a residential neighborhood where children often play, being near the bus stop is guaranteed to put children in danger every day. In this case money should not be the deciding factor, it should be safety. This residential street simply cannot handle the volume of traffic that the car wash will produce. Let’s weigh he negatives vs. the positives: The main negatives are: This car wash is going to add traffic, and disrupt the lives and safety of many residents. The positives are: drivers do not have to make a U-turn to get a car wash. Hmm I wonder which side should win.

Any commercial business that uses a residential street as an entrance/exit will increase the traffic on that street. Couple that with the fact that the cars would need to drive past the children’s path to the bus stop and it really frightens me of the possibilities.

I also wholeheartedly agree with the air pollution issue. Cars will be waiting in line with the exhaust building up and blowing over to the children’s bus stop. Anyone who has been out running or biking near a congested road has felt the effects it can have while trying to breathe. Subjecting a child to this exhaust day after day could lead to lifelong health issues. I would hope that all residents, including board members, of Bedford Hills put the safety of our children as the highest priority in making all decisions.

I think the zoning board needs to physically go and visit this site. Obviously, they have not if they are considering allowing such a monstrous facility on a huge site and outrageously asking for extraordinary variances. To allow entrances in and out of this site on a residential street is near criminal considering the main road is the longer of this rectangular property. On this residential street, there are children who play, and walk to and from the bus stop passing this site and to allow vehicular traffic to pass the sidewalk perpendicularly is borderline criminal considering that children may get hurt or risk fatality, not to mention the possibility of massive traffic into the Culdesac

Further, there is another car wash within a stones throw of this possible site, how many car washes do we need within a one mile radius? This is ridiculous and shouldn't even be considered for approval without a realistic approach by Splash management!!!

The zoning board has a fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Bedford Hills and to uphold the laws respectively, obviously this massive program does not fit the bill at this location. The potential owner of this site MUST consider scaling back this project and look for entry way into this facility through 117, not this little residential street. Should this project be granted without stipulation, I think the zoning board should be held responsible and possibly named personally in "the" upcoming lawsuit. Further the residents of Bedford Hills will petition for the removal of these zoning board members for recklessly approving such a dangerous environment.

As an architect, we commonly file for variances to help our clients pursue projects, however, these are typically achieved due to outdated zoning and building codes, which make little sense in this day and age. Prior to moving forward with this facility, I would ask if a traffic study has been conducted and what were the findings, not only for Rt. 117 but for Valerio Ct. Knowing Valerio Ct. well, the street traffic can get very congested simply when a resident is entertaining for day. Additional traffic within the cul de sac would be detrimental to the residents of this community. I agree with Mr. DeFeo's concern that children walking to and from the bus stop would have to cross this busy driveway twice per day creating an unsafe condition for the children. I do not think that there is objection to permit a carwash in the community, however, I have to question the potential owner and the boards decision to tentatively allow it on this quiet narrow street.