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Fennell Street and the former fire station site

Part 2 of an ongoing opinion series

The reasons are numerous and somewhat self-evident. Few locations offer the opportunity to stroll and window shop because buildings were not designed to support retail activity or are at a distance from the street edge and separated from the pedestrian by parking lots. Numerous curb cuts for traffic ingress and egress increase pedestrian danger and discomfort. There is no convenient and attractive network of sidewalks and paths to draw a pedestrian in and through the area — it does not look interesting so why bother.

The former fire station site is part of this setting. Set well back on the property at an angle to the street and about 165 feet from it at its closest point, the single-story, flat-roofed structure does little to enhance or define the built edge of the street. Even if expanded vertically and spruced up, it would remain remote without a street presence.

The 122-foot-wide building straddles the site at mid-depth. A wedge-shaped paved apron between the street and the building is given over, in large part, to an easement in favor of the owners of the post office property so that the post office tenant can bring in truckloads of mail daily for local sorting and distribution.

The horseshoe shape of this easement makes the apron area unbuildable; however, in planning the police station in 2008, a reconfiguration of the existing easement was approved by all abutters if certain improvements were made by the village as part of the police station site work.

With the abandonment of the police station project, the easement reconfiguration was made moot; however, it may still be achievable with appropriate site work performed at the entry area benefiting both the SECNY and village parcels.

Alan Dolmatch is a former village trustee who has chaired various building project committees for the village and town including the Fire Station Project Committee and several project committees for reuse of the former fire station parcel. He is a retired architect, mechanical engineer and real estate consultant to pension fund investment advisors. He currently serves on the Comprehensive Plan Committee and is a Commissioner on the village’s Municipal Board.

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