by Dan McClelland
The Tupper Lake Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Squadhaspurchased the former Bartel Motors property at 169 Main Street with the intention to move its important life-saving service there.
An application for a special use permit to relocate from its High Street headquarters to the modern building that Kevin Bartel built a number of years ago and which has sat idle the past year or so since Mr. Bartel closed his used car businesswas presented to the town and village planning board Wednesday night. The parcel features a very spacious parking lot and immediate access onto State Route 3.
“The squad purchased the old Bartel Motors and plans to move its operation from High Street,” Attorney Kirk Gagnier, who was representing the volunteer agency, told the planners.
“The building's use will be the same” as the use in the current premises, he said.
“There are some very obvious benefits for the squad,” he said, pointing to the abundant parking area around the building, large interior garage bays and a much newer structure.
“-And it's in the Junction,” added downtown businessman Jim Larkin.
Bob Collier, a long time squad volunteer who was a major mainstay of the operation here for years, recused himself from any vote on the matter.
“It offers considerably more indoor garage space than our old one,” he told his colleagues that evening.
“-And it offers immediate access right onto Route 3,” added the attorney.
From the squad's existing location, one block of village street has to be travelled before an ambulance hits a state route.
Planning board member Shawn Stuart wondered about the total assessment of the property and the agency's not for profit status.
The attorney explained that the squad is purchasing the property from the mortgage holder- Champlain National Bank- and would likely apply for tax exempt status for the parcel in upcoming months, as not for profit agencies typically do.
Any application for tax-exempt status would not take effect until the next school tax period which begins September, 2017, he explained.
Jim Larkin said the agency's current building on High Street would likely be sold by the squad to private concern after its relocation, and so that parcel would go backon the local tax roll.
Planner Paul O'Leary told Mr. Stuart he would find out the current taxable assessment on the Bartel parcel.
“It's certainly a substantial building,” Mr. Stuart noted, to which Bill Breton added: “it will certainly serve the community better than where the squad is now!”
It was suggested as a condition of any forthcoming permit that stop signs be installed at each of the exits- two on Eighth Street and two on the state highway.
“We'll have to reach out to the state Department of Transportation” to have that done.
The attorney noted that the signs could be placed on the parcel and beyond the DOT right of way, to make things easier.
Bob Colliersaid he would support the addition of stop signs at each entrance/exit to the parcel, “to prevent some ambulance driver from pulling too quickly onto the state highway.
Mr. Larkin said he thought the former car business site has a big advantage in that it offers a clear line of site on the state highway in both directions.
The board scheduled a public hearing for the next meeting on Nov. 16- one week earlier than usual because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
by Dan McClelland