The entrance to Northport Village off of Route 25A could be in store for a face-lift.
Long considered an eyesore by some, the corner of Woodbine Avenue and Route 25A is the subject of a zoning board application for a gas station and convenience store.
Applicant Edward Clark, of Babylon, and his architect Harold Gebhard, of Lindenhurst, are seeking area and use variances to move forward with the plan, but the zoning board wants more information — particularly on traffic impacts — following a public hearing on the proposal last week.
Currently, a vacant white building that was once a gas station and auto repair shop sits on the property. The applicant is seeking to rehabilitate the current building, add a canopy, gas pumps, a convenience store and eight parking spaces. If approved, a maximum of six cars could gas up at a time. Clark said he’s been in discussions with BP to be the new gas station.
The convenience store would sell soda, coffee, packaged foods, bread, milk and more, but there would be no food preparation on site, Clark said. He said he needs the convenience store to offset the cost of gas.
Zoning board members expressed some concern about the appearance of the project, especially the size of the convenience store and the height of a proposed canopy atop the gas pumps. Clark and Gebhard said from its peak to the ground the canopy would be about 18 feet high.
Zoning board member Arlene Handel said she was concerned about the height of the canopy obscuring a “historic entry point” to the village.
“It’s very much an important part of the character of the village,” she said. She added that a tall canopy “is really going to cut upon the view.”
ZBA Chairman Andrew Cangemi had a flurry of questions about the project that were mostly traffic-related. He wanted to know the number of cars the project is anticipated to generate during hours of operation and its peak hour volumes, and how the lighting would look.
Some residents in the audience expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal and questioned whether the community needed another gas station. But Cangemi pointed out that the site needs work and a gas station had already existed there.
“We understand something’s got to go in there,” Cangemi said.
Clark said he’s been trying to move forward with developing the site for several years and called the long process a “nightmare.”
“I’ve been paying rent, real estate taxes on this property for three years to get to this point now,” he said.
The public hearing will be held open until Sept. 16. Cangemi asked the applicant to come back with a traffic study.