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Verstandig's plans new digs

Delaware Avenue in Delmar, Verstandig's Florist presented its plans for a new building at its Creeble Road location in Selkirk.

At the Tuesday, June 17, meeting, the Bethlehem Planning Board heard owner Bob Verstandig's plans to build a 3,968-square-foot building to house his offices, as well as retail and wholesale plant materials.

He is planning to sell the Delaware Avenue location to Keystone Builders, which is proposing to build 40 condominiums on the site.

Verstandig also laid out his plans for going green, but he wasn't talking about his shrubs.

"A couple of years ago we decided to go green," Verstandig said, telling the board of plans to use recycled rainwater, solar and possibly wind energy for his greenhouses and new building. "If we're going to stay in the business, we have to go solar or some kind of alternative electricity. There's no two ways about it."

Verstandig said between Oct. 1 and March 10 he spent $90,000 on utility bills.

He said that as he gears toward a more wholesale operation in Selkirk, the biggest change will be that Verstandig's is discontinuing its gift shop.

"Right now our whole [Selkirk] operation is 100 percent wholesale, so what we're essentially doing is starting a new business," Verstandig said of the proposed new building. "It will probably be more in line with a farmers market kind of deal like the Carrot Barn up in Schoharie."

Verstandig said, "The gift shop is a thing of the past."

Assistant Director of Economic Development and Planning, Michael Morelli, said that Verstandig's proposed building has adequate parking and does not need a variance.

"They have around 48 acres over there between Jericho, Elm Avenue and Crebble Road and the building is being proposed along the Crebble side," Morelli said. "It's zoned rural light industrial, which is a permitted use compliant with the zoning."

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