Nesconset residents fear construction of a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 347 could disrupt their neighborhood.
A small group of Nesconset residents spoke out against developer Browns & 347, LLC who has requested a change of zone to the 2.5-acre property on the corner of Route 347 and Browns Road from R-15 Residential Single Family to Whole Sale Service Industry at a Smithtown Town board meeting Sept. 20.
The developer has proposed plans to construct a 12,450-square-foot, two-story office building and a Dunkin’ Donuts on the wooded lot, according to attorney Vincent Trimarco Sr.
Nesconset residents are decrying the plans saying it will negatively affect property values and increase traffic near Sprofera Park. For Browns Road resident Linda Costa, whose home is adjacent to the proposed project, the developer’s plans are particularly alarming.
The plans for the proposed project will create additional parking spaces on two sides of
“Now your adding more parking behind my house — I have parking next to my house and across the street from my house,” Costa said. “I feel like I’m living in a parking lot.”
Costa and other residents fear a zone change would hurt their ability to sell their homes in the future, especially if they wished to break away from this new commercial development.
“I would probably try to sell my home before the development goes through, but I would have to be completely honest with that person beforehand that the zoning changed,” Costa said. “It would be much harder to sell.”
The proposed development was previously denied by the town’s planning board in May 2017, due to traffic complaints caused by an entranceway off Browns Road, according to Trimarco. The new site plan would limit access to two driveways on Route 347, and include a 30-foot barrier of greenery along Browns Road to disguise the property from the residential street.
In addition, the applicants have agreed to provide 22 parking spaces along the eastern end of the property to the town for municipal purposes and access to Sprofera Park.
Maureen O’Connor, who lives across from the proposed project, said she feared traffic would increase if cars wanted to come down Browns Road to get to the new Dunkin’ Donuts. The problem is exacerbated with kids crossing the street to get to Sprofera Park and a school bus stop that is situated along Browns Road.
“The traffic pattern already around this busy intersection would not only increase, but would increase the disruption in the flow of traffic as cars attempt to enter or exit onto this business on [Route] 347,” O’Connor said.
When residents questioned why developers wouldn’t create more single-family homes on the site, Trimarco said having more homes connected to Browns Road would result in more traffic. He also said that since the development will be shielded from view by that greenery it shouldn’t affect property values.
“We would have to have access through Browns Road, and you would have the same problem the neighbors are concerned about,” Trimarco said.
Nesconset resident Salvatore Vitale, a homeowner on Michael Place overlooking the park, said he fears a new parking lot and a Dunkin’ Donuts could lead to more loitering and vagrancy.
“Every few nights there’s a police car parked [in the Sprofera Park parking lot] to make sure there’s no transients or loitering,” Vitale said. “Now you put a building there, and those parking areas will need three police cars every night.”
Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) did not give a date as to when the town will make a decision.