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Advance Auto Parts tweaks Gouverneur project design because of contamination

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GOUVERNEUR — Advance Auto Parts is still planning a store on East Main Street, but the developer no longer will take over Richardson’s Flooring as part of the project because of contamination found from long-buried gas tanks.

The village Planning and Zoning boards will have a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the municipal courtroom to review changes to the plan of West Lake Development to construct a 6,400-square-foot retail store at 441/443 E. Main St.

The project will be built on a property with a house on it that is owned by the Richardson family and a vacant lot owned by the Pistolesi family who operate the Casablanca Restaurant, Code Enforcement Officer Michael J. McQuade said.

“They positioned the building differently,” he said. “They’re just turning it a little bit.”

Soil samples showed contamination at the parcel on which Richardson’s Flooring sits from tanks from a gas station that closed in the 1960s, Mr. McQuade said.

Kenneth F. Richardson, proprietor of Richardson’s Flooring, 445 E. Main St., had been unhappy with the state Department of Transportation’s plans for reconstruction of Route 11 — which is Main Street in the village — that reduced the number of parking spaces he has used. He had planned to sell the building that houses the flooring business for the auto store and put up a new building on property he owns on Route 11 near the Custard Cottage.

Mr. Richardson declined comment on the contamination and his plans.

Mr. McQuade said Mr. Richardson might appeal to the state, which took some contaminated property that it will clean up in front of the store.

“Maybe the state might say there’s a hardship and clean it up,” Mr. McQuade said.

The area around Richardson’s was identified by the state as suspect for contamination, DOT spokesman Michael R. Flick said.

“We remediate inside the highway boundaries. We will not remediate beyond that area,” he said. “The suspected tank burial site was beyond the sidewalk.”

As part of the DOT’s reconstruction from North Gordon to Railroad streets this summer, the village, in cooperation with St. Lawrence County, also is trying to have the state demolish and clean up gasoline contamination at a former garage — with back taxes owed on it — so the land can be used to create a turning lane at Factory Street.

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