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Times of Huntington

David Badanes speaks at a Northport-East Northport school board meeting. File Photo by Eric Santiago

On July 15, members of the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District board of education gathered for their annual reorganization meeting. During the meeting new trustees Larry Licopoli and Thomas Loughran, as well as re-elected member Allison Noonan, were sworn in by the board counsel. Each member will serve for three years on the board.

   Additionally, the positions of board president and vice president were voted upon in which David Badanes and Allison Noonan were appointed, respectively. Both were also sworn in by the board counsel. Both Superintendent of Schools Robert Banzer and District Clerk Beth Nystrom took their annual oath of office, pledging to fulfill their duty in serving the district.

File photo

Suffolk County 1st Squad detectives are investigating an incident where a Huntington Station woman was shot during a domestic situation in East Farmingdale. Her boyfriend later shot himself at the same location after standoff with police.

Police said a 37-year-old Huntington Station woman was transported to Huntington Hospital where she was treated for non-life-threatening gunshot wounds at approximately 3 p.m. Jan. 8. Before the incident, the woman said she met her boyfriend at a parking lot located on New Highway, near Smith Street in East Farmingdale. Both individuals were in the female’s vehicle when the man, who was in possession of a handgun, allegedly threatened to harm himself. The woman attempted to gain possession of the weapon when a shot was fired. The woman was struck by the bullet in her right hand and right hip. The man exited her vehicle and got into his vehicle, that was also parked at that location., according to police The woman fled and went to Huntington Hospital.

While at the hospital, the woman notified police officers that her 22-year-old boyfriend was threatening to injure himself, according to police. Officers located the man, who was in possession of a handgun, in his vehicle that was still located in the parking lot on New Highway at approximately 4:20 p.m.  The man barricaded himself within his vehicle, police said. Police officers locked down the surrounding area and closed nearby streets. Members from the Suffolk County Police Hostage Negotiation Team and Emergency Service Section officers responded. At approximately 8 p.m., after a nearly four-hour standoff with police, the man exited his vehicle then shot himself in his right shoulder. He was then taken into custody and was transported by East Farmingdale Fire Department to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip where he was listed in stable condition.

Franco Pinan-Solorzano, of Copiague, was charged with second-degree Assault 2nd Degree and criminal possession of a weapon. The investigation is continuing.

Some oppose East Northport gas station rezoning

Speedway on Fort Salonga Road. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

A Speedway gas station is hoping to get the Huntington Town Board’s green light to change its zoning to add a 24-hour convenience store — but some residents want to hit the brakes on the plan.

Speedway on Fort Salonga Road in East Northport wants to change its zoning from C-7 Minor Commercial Corridor District to C-11 Automotive Service Station District. At a board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16, residents of Huntington spoke out against the proposal, which was up for a public hearing, saying it poses traffic issues and questioning the need for a 24-hour convenience store. The gas station, which formerly was known as Hess, is located at the intersection of Catherine Street and Fort Salonga Road.

“Growing up in a commercial corridor as busy as we had was tough as a kid,” William Foley Jr., an East Northport resident who lives directly behind Speedway, said at the meeting. “A car once hit my brother when he was riding his bike. Adding more traffic to this commercial corridor would be a disaster.”

Foley Jr. went on to list a number of grocery stores and markets all within a close proximity, including a Stop and Shop, a Rite Aid, a King Kullen, a CVS, two liquor stores, a beer distributor, two delis, a pizzeria, two bagel stores and more.

“What is this convenience store going to bring to our community that we don’t already have?” Foley Jr. said “We have everything, all within a mile span.”

Speedway is hoping to get a C-11 rezoning instead of the current C-7, which allows for retail uses, food shops and convenience markets, but prohibits the sale of prepackaged food, soft drinks, newspapers and other convenience store-type products if the business is not part of a lawfully preexisting nonconforming service station or repair shop.

“Most gas stations operating in the Town of Huntington are preexisting nonconforming ones, as is this one,” Kevin O’Brien said, who spoke on behalf of the applicant. “The correct zone for gasoline and service stations is C-11.”

A C-11 zoning allows for the retail sales the applicant desires, and storage tanks must be on-site and underground.

Aside from building a retail mart, Speedway is seeking to make underground and aboveground improvements. This includes removing or replacing the underground gasoline storage tanks and reconfiguring the pump volume.

O’Brien expressed that Speedway was more than willing to work with neighbors and listen to their concerns. He also said that the company went through a very similar process with the Commack Speedway location, where they were able to change its zoning to C-11.

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) said he saw many differences in the two cases.

“[In Commack] it was an old, shuttered gas station, that couldn’t sustain itself as just as a gas station,” he said. “This particular station is very, very active. There are a lot of people going in and out of there all day just with gas.”

Kevin Papasian, branch manager of FST Engineers and who was also representing the gas station with O’Brien, said that although the station is popular, several other well-used gas stations in the area have secondary uses besides gas.

“Those all have car repairs,” he said. “This station does not.”

In terms of the repairs and renovations, Papasian said the underground storage tanks are old and need to be upgraded. Speedway also would like to move them closer toward Fort Salonga Road and farther away from the residents.

William Foley Sr., an East Northport resident who also lives directly behind Speedway, said that the site plan for this proposal requires many variances.

“Right from the start they showed gross disregard to the neighbors in the area by submitting a site plan that will need several variances before they can proceed,” Foley Sr. said.

According to Foley Sr., as per town code, no side yard adjacent to a residential property shall be less than 50 feet from the property line and Speedway’s proposing land is only 15 feet from the property line.

Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) also questioned the number of variances the plan needs.

“Mr. Foley said that your side setback and rear setback are off, as well as your square footage and height,” Berland said. “Maybe you should start over again and at least try to present something that doesn’t require four or five variances before you present it to the board.”

O’Brien said that the height was off at one point due to a decorative feature that has since been removed from the planning.

When reached Monday, Speedway declined to comment.

The public hearing was closed and the Town Board must vote within 90 days or hold another public hearing before voting.