BHT-Montgomery, an auto sales lot proposed in the Town of Montgomery, has removed its application from the planning board.
In a letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), project attorney John Cappello said BHT’s pending special use permit and application for the auto sales lot has been authorized to be withdrawn.
The 118-acre project would have contained about 4,115 parking spaces for storage of used inoperable insurance salvage/resale vehicles, according to planning board documents.
Cappello said his client withdrew the application because they do not want to pursue the process of building an auto sales lot, given the conditions of the site.
“We wish to stress that our client has withdrawn its application in the town merely because they now have on interest in pursuing the long and arduous process of establishing an auto sales lot given the unique properties of the site, not because of the ZBA appeal in question,” Cappello states.
John Brown and Leonard Brown, of the Historic Brown Family Farm, LLC, filed an appeal with the ZBA to overturn the use determination for BHT-Montgomery on the grounds that the proposed project was actually a junkyard, not an auto sales lot and automobile recycling facility as the town building inspector had determined.
Junkyards are prohibited under town code. The code defines a junkyard as, “Any land or structure or part thereof exceeding 300 square feet in area, used for the collecting . . . [or] storage . . . of . . . vehicles not in running condition.”
Cappello said in the letter that since the application has been withdrawn, Brown does not have the standing to pursue the appeal, and the ZBA should discontinue its review of the appeal.
As of June 11, ZBA secretary Suzanne Hadden said the appeal is on the agenda for the ZBA meeting on June 17.
Leonard Brown said the family will pursue the appeal, despite the fact that BHT has withdrawn their application. The proposed project adjoined their farm and the Tin Brook, so Brown said he would like the use determination to be overturned so similar facilities can not apply to that site in the future.
“A junkyard would be detrimental to our historic farm,” Brown said.
Brown said he would also like to see a watershed corridor established along the Tin Brook to protect that water resource.
Several other residents voiced objections to the proposed project at public hearings, stating the project would have detrimental water, traffic, noise, air and visual effects.
Cappello said BHT based their special exception use application permit on the permitted and special exception uses within the town code, as well as a similar auto sales lot business—Insurance Auto Auction, Inc.—that currently exists adjacent to the site BHT was considering.
“Mr. Brown has provided no explanation for why Insurance Auto Auction, Inc.’s proposal and subsequently use determination as a permitted use within the town was not objectionable back in 1996, or even 2013 when a site plan amendment was sight, but now has become objectionable in 2019 when BHT proposed to conduct the same use on Zachary Pond LLC’s property,” Cappello said.
The zoning board of appeals meeting will be at 7 p.m. on June 11 at town hall, 110 Bracken Road.