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Developer, residents spar over proposed East Hampton car wash

Attorney Carl Irace, who represents the group Citizens

Attorney Carl Irace, who represents the group Citizens to Preserve the East End, speaks in front of a wooded parcel next to the entrance of the East Hampton Town Recycling Center in East Hampton, April 11, 2017. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

A group of East Hampton Town residents said they do not want a proposed car wash to be built next to the town’s recycling center over concerns it would harm the area’s groundwater quality — an argument the developer says is not applicable.

Carl Irace, an attorney representing the community organization Citizens to Preserve the East End, said on Tuesday that his clients worry the proposed 5,400-square-foot car wash would put additional pressure on the aquifer that supplies the town with water.

“Why are we going to volunteer to aggravate those sensitive issues?” Irace said.

Greg Darvin, the owner of the site, disputed Irace’s concerns. He said the car wash will trap any used water and recycle it until it needs to be transported to a sewage waste facility.

“The irony is a car wash is less of a pollutant than washing your car at home,” said Darvin, an East Hampton resident. “It uses much less water.”

Britton Bistrian, a consultant for the car wash, said an automatic car wash uses up to 35 gallons of water per car, about a third of the 150 gallons used to wash a car by hand.

The site is currently a vacant wooded lot in front of the East Hampton Recycling Center and is on an industrial and commercial strip of Springs-Fireplace Road. Although the car wash proposal was first submitted to the town’s planning board in December 2015, Citizens to Preserve the East End earlier this month passed out lime green fliers opposing it.

Irace said his clients are concerned the car wash would also create more traffic in front of the frequently used disposal center, but Darvin said a recently conducted traffic study found a negligible impact.

Springs resident Annette Kunin — who was at the recycling center Tuesday afternoon and planned to go to the Southampton car wash afterward — said she would support the car wash as long as it does not damage the environment or cause additional traffic and noise.

“It doesn’t seem like a bad spot for it because [residents] come to the dump and then want to get their car cleaned,” Kunin said.

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