I am writing in response to your article regarding the devastation that has occurred at the former Hilltop Service Station at the corner of Strawberry Road/East Main Street and Route 6. As many residents are aware, it was recently purchased by a new owner who seems to have a vision of Yorktown that is in stark contrast to what the taxpayers of Yorktown have envisioned as the “gateway to Yorktown.” The Town Board resolution No. 179 specifically states: “There shall be no commercial sale of vehicles from the site.”

The new owner’s representative stated at a board meeting that the new owner did not know that when he bought the property. So should the residents now have to look at a used car lot because he did not do his homework? The site-plan for the property when it was approved before he took over also calls for:

  • 70 North American arborvitae
  • 150 Bar Harbor junipers
  • 40 Pfitzer junipers
  • 12 cherry trees
  • 6 Chinese grasses
  • An 8-foot high solid stockade fence encircling the whole property.
  • A 3-foot high berm to block the view of the station from Strawberry Road.

All of the above are now gone.

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He also had wiped clean all “invasive” vegetation on the Route 6 side, including as far as I can ascertain:

  • A 70-foot tall black locust tree
  • A 60-foot tall black locust tree
  • Three 40-foot tall native trees
  • A 30-foot tall Weeping willow and almost every living plant that blocked his used car lot from the Route 6.

I believe the residents of Yorktown would agree that a used car lot is more invasive than greenery that hid the gas station. At one of the board meetings, the director of planning for Yorktown, John Tegeder, noted that there was: “A green belt stretching from the Stone Church in Mohegan Lake to the Somers Border.” There is now a gaping hole in that belt and how will the new owner ever replace 60- and 70-foot tall trees? The owner claimed he did not know he was not supposed to wipe out everything but conveniently it was done on two occasions: Labor Day weekend and Election Day; both of which town offices were closed and no way to contact an official to put a stop to it.

I am asking any resident who believes Yorktown deserves better than a used car lot to greet visitors and residents alike to our town to write our Town Board and speak out at the “courtesy of the floor” portion of the Town Board meetings before this becomes a permanent part of our daily life and our children’s future.