A proposed 7-Eleven on the southeast corner of Smithtown Boulevard and Nichols Road has a Nesconset civic group up in arms.
Nesconset Civic Association, a recently formed community organization, is fearful that construction of yet another 7-Eleven will negatively affect traffic safety in their neighborhood during rush hour, especially as there is already another one a short way down the road.
Civic members attended the Town of Smithtown board meeting April 10 to voice their opinions.
Bob Souto, a board member of the Nesconset Civic Association, said he and his group collected 400 signatures through an online petition from residents who opposed the proposed 2,500-square-foot convenience store. The site in question was formerly home to Capital One bank, across from Nesconset Christian Church.
“My neighbors don’t want this, are troubled by this, and say they didn’t vote for this,” Souto said. “Our roads are designed 50, 60 years ago. This new business doesn’t add more cars to road, but it does change traffic patterns. It causes safety, pollution and congestion issues.”
He also asked the board to call a moratorium on all new development in Nesconset.
“It’s time to step back, moratorium’s a good word, and prepare a comprehensive master plan for all five hamlets.”
— Amy Fortunato
The project is being spearheaded by Bay Shore-based developer J. Nazarro Partnership. Nazarro could not be reached for comment before this publication’s press time.
“Historically, Smithtown’s town codes were written to protect the interests and investments of the Smithtown residents at the time of their codifications,” Nesconset resident Amy Fortunato said. “It’s time to step back, moratorium’s a good word, and prepare a comprehensive master plan for all five hamlets.”
Smithtown spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo said that in order for the town to declare a moratorium on development in Nesconset, it would have to institute a townwide building ban. However, the Town of Smithtown has several villages and hamlets, including Lake Grove, Nissequogue and Village of the Branch which would be free to make their own decisions.
Civic members also said they felt that the town board has too quickly allowed the development to go through the approval process.
“You have tainted the process by prematurely coming to a conclusion and have left the town vulnerable to a legal challenge.”
— Marie Gruick
“You have tainted the process by prematurely coming to a conclusion and have left the town vulnerable to a legal challenge,“ said Marie Gruick, of Nesconset.
Garguilo said that the town’s hands are tied because the developers have the legal authority to build on the property. Town officials cannot deny a site plan solely based on its intended use. She said the town could be subject to an unwinnable lawsuit if they tried to halt it.
“If something is zoned where it requires no variance or exceptions or anything like that, by law the town has to approve it unless they are asking for a special exception or something it isn’t zoned for,” Garguilo said. “All that we would be left with is a big bill that comes out of taxpayers’ pockets.”
Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said that the board will arrange for all of the traffic counts and accident studies to be made available to the residents who are concerned about traffic. He also said that the county still has to approve plans to create a new curb cut onto Smithtown Boulevard.
The Nesconset Civic Association, which is not associated with either the existing Nesconset-Sachem Civic Association or Nesconset Neighbors United, will be holding a meeting April 19 at 7 p.m. The location is the Nesconset branch of The Smithtown Library at 148 Smithtown Blvd.