Tupper Lake Aubuchon relocation OK’d

TUPPER LAKE – The town-village planning board approved Aubuchon Hardware’s plan to relocate to Lake Street.

The new structure will be built near the corner of Lake and Mill streets, on a lot where a large apartment/business complex burned down a year-and-a-half ago. The building will replace Aubuchon’s current location at 16 Demars Blvd.

At a standing-room-only planning board meeting Thursday evening, representatives unveiled plans for the building, which include a larger store, a 36-car parking lot and the potential use of a driveway that would cross the Beth Joseph Synagogue property. An easement would permit Aubuchon to use the driveway as a means of getting trucks to the back of the store.

Members of the congregation have spoken out against the use of the driveway and have said it would interfere with events and detract from the aesthetics of the historic building.

Greg Moran, president of Aubuchon’s real estate division, spoke at the meeting and said the driveway would be used sparingly.

“If we decide to utilize the easement, it would be minimal,” Moran said. “We ran a truck report over 50 weeks and found that 86 percent of the time the truck comes on a Wednesday, and 40 percent of our deliveries are after hours. Of those 52 weekly deliveries, maybe 20 percent of them would go through that door.”

The door Moran referred to was originally slated to be located at the back of the building, but after several people at the meeting, including some planning board members, raised concerns that it would be visible from the synagogue, he quickly agreed to have the door relocated to the side of the building.

Moran also said he has been working closely with Lake Placid attorney Ed Flink, who is representing the synagogue, and that an agreement that satisfies both parties is on the horizon.

Flink said he has worked with Aubuchon before and agreed that both parties will come to an agreement soon.

“We’ve already exchanged some ideas,” Flink said. “I’m looking to strike an agreement between Aubuchon and my client.”

Board member Ralph Russell said the issue over the easement is between the property owners and not up to the board to resolve, and said the board’s concerns were over how the building would be built.

The board agreed that the exterior has to blend in with the natural surroundings and not look like a commercial box store. Moran responded by saying the building plans call for earth-tone colors like greens and blues, and added the finished look will have an “Adirondack feeling.” He compared the proposed plans with the Lake Placid building, where the store’s six loading bays are each broken into two or three different color tones.

Village Code Enforcement Officer Pete Edwards said he was concerned about the look of the store.

“There isn’t going to be a backside of your building that isn’t going to be visible from all sides,” Edwards said.

Moran said a solution is to use mirrored glass or false windows on the store so people passing by would see a reflection instead of merchandise inside.

“My thought is to try to keep it as neutral as possible,” Moran said. “I want the customer to feel as welcome as possible.”

Planning board member Shawn Stuart raised concerns over the look of the roof, which were satisfied when Moran proposed a three-tiered roof with architectural shingles instead of plain steel.

Drainage at the site was also heavily discussed by the board.

Bob Marvin, lead surveyor of the new Aubuchon stores in Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, said sheet run-off in the parking lot would be contained in a subcatchment area, which would be designed to catch excessive runoff from the parking lot and the roof of the building.

“These things are all designed to handle the overflow of a 500-year flood,” Marvin said. “All water on site, and all new water on site, will be handled.”

Marvin added that the new drainage system would meet village and state standards, and will consist of open chambers instead of a traditional gravel bed.

“We’ll be reducing the volume of discharge at the existing site and the flow rate off the site,” Marvin said. “Discharge toward the park will be minimal.”

After about two hours of debate, the planning board voted to let Aubuchon proceed with the project.

For Te Jay, owner of New Beginnings salon on Lake Street, it was a relief. She recently sold the property her store is on to Aubuchon and will relocate later this month.

“When you’re acquiring a new place to move into, you put your contracts on hold in acquisition of them getting the property, so if it wasn’t approved tonight, I don’t know where I was going to be at,” Jay said. “A landlord only holds your contract for so long, and it’s already been five weeks in.”

Jay said it has been frustrating straddling two different locations, and her husband, John, said the decision to move came after Aubuchon began making plans for the adjoining property.

“They want to put this big building next to our building,” John said. “We figure, if you want to be that close, why don’t you just buy the property?”

Jay has to be out of the old building by July 28, and the new New Beginnings will open July 30 at 203 Park St., across from Luke’s Tire and Auto Repair.

Aubuchon plans to break ground July 29.

Shaun Kittle can reached at 891-2600 ext. 25 or skittle@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.