Jul 06, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
This week, the infamous and decade-long defunct Mobil gas station at the corner of W. Genesee and Fuller streets was razed by bulldozers and backhoes, and a layer of seeded topsoil spread to grow while plans are made by the owner for future use of the lot. The demolition was the talk of the town for more than a week beginning in late June, when a bulldozer was parked on the lot and yellow police tape strung across the building as asbestos and window removal occurred.
What will replace the former gas station, and what will happen to the defunct BP gas station in the adjoining lot on W. Genesee Street, is currently under consideration by the landowner, who hopes to create a development master plan during the next few years.
“That’s been quite an adventure to get done,” said Gary Dower, owner of both lots as well as a few acres of vacant land behind the lots. “We’d like to try to bring the whole area back to be a productive contribution to the tax rolls.”
Both the defunct Mobil and BP gas stations most likely were built around the 1940s, Dower said, and have been sitting vacant for more than a decade. Both sites, as former gas stations, had environmental issues attached to them, and the Mobil site many years ago suffered a gas leak that necessitated major environmental cleanup by the state and the former owner.
After Dower purchased the old BP station, he found in the basement more than four dozen 55-gallon drums of various gas station hazardous liquids that had been stored on-site, as well as about 150 used automotive batteries, all of which had to be removed, he said.
“But we went through the process with the [state department of environmental conservation] to clean and improve the land and it is all environmentally stable now,” he said.
Dower, who has owned the lots for several years, said it was a complicated process to finally get to the Mobil station demolition stage due to necessary dealings with state’s environmental rules and regulations and National Grid, as well as multiple local zoning and municipal issues.
As plans progress for future improvement of the two lots, Dower will need to consult and work with both the village and the town of Skaneateles because the Mobil lot is part of the village, but the BP lot is part of the town. The highway-fronted town land is zoned commercial but the village land is zoned residential, while water and sewer lines on both properties cross both village and town boundaries, Dower said.
The “reasonable approach” to the lots potential future use will be to sketch some plans, sit down with the planning boards of both village and town and discuss ideas, he said.
While the corner lot will be a vacant green space during the interim, the old BP station building — on the right side of W. Genesee Street going west toward Auburn, currently with peeling white paint and a green middle stripe — will remain standing because it still is a sturdy structure that can be reused, Dower said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.