Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
7-Eleven’s are on every major road. If you frequent Mineola, you may have bought soda or a Slurpee at the Mineola Boulevard location, which may be getting a twin neighbor about one mile away.
Since 2005, the parcel of land at 400 East Jericho Turnpike has remained empty. Originally occupied by an Amoco gas station, the location has been tapped by the convenience store giant, which is proposing a 2,500 sq. ft. store.
All that sits on the site is a PVC fence along the northern edge of the property and an office building to the east. 7-Eleven is proposing to install a new fence all the way to the western property line along the rear of the lot and add 10 ½ foot-high evergreen trees in addition to the fence.
The proposed structure would be built at the northwest corner of property and include 10 parking spots in accordance with the village code as well as a handicapped space.
“This application requires no variances whatsoever,” for parking or structure, according to Alfred Amato of the Garden City-based Amato Law Group, the lead local attorney for 7-Eleven, who presented the application at a recent public hearing of the Mineola village board.
Amato said a sewer easement established in 1954 from Jay Court to Northern State Parkway was recorded. The site was occupied by a gas station since 1952, and the easement was dissolved by the village only beneath the office building in 1959.
“So essentially you have an easement to nowhere right now,” Amato said, proposing that the village completely dissolve the easement or 7-Eleven be granted the right to place a sign on the property.
Chris Tartaglia of High Point Engineering said the group has not yet received feedback from New York State regarding new curb cuts but that the movement of the cut along Jay Court would create “an additional stacking area at the light waiting for the light to change for vehicles to queue and allow vehicles the ability to exit the site in an orderly manner.”
Amato submitted an engineering report, traffic study, planning study, appraisal and site photos at the meeting, an action questioned by Mayor Scott Strauss as to why it was not submitted before the meeting for review.
“It took several weeks to put all this information together,” Amato said, “literally the reports came together in final form this afternoon.”
VHB Engineering representative Ginny Watral, said that the development presents “no significant adverse impact associated to health, safety and welfare in the neighborhood or community are expected.”
Traffic engineer Charles Olivo stated that traffic studies were conducted from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. during rush hour commute on a weekday in September. According to the report, Jericho Turnpike has 1,500 cars traveling west during the peak 60 minutes and 2,000 traveling east going to the Northern State Parkway. During the same time, Jay Court has 50 cars. The traffic light at the intersection is currently timed to give Jay Court 10 seconds of green time while the Jericho Turnpike light has two minutes.
If built, Olivo said the convenience store would generate what he described as pass by traffic, “which means that that traffic is already on the roadway system today.” The store would generate a 2-percent increase of traffic at the intersection according to the engineer.
Numerous concerns were expressed by the board about traffic through the residential area to the north as well as quality of life issues.
“I’m concerned about the traffic going out of the parking lot, making a right hand turn onto Jay Court and going north to Hillside Avenue and cutting through that residential community,” Strauss said, asking about what measures could be taken to ensure patrons were forced to go back towards Jericho.
Olivo’s response was the company’s intention to leave the driveway unaltered as “the potential patrons of this store could be living in Jay Court,” drew numerous groans from the capacity crowd. He also cited an employee in the nearby office building also uses the connected parking lot entrance and lives in the nearby neighborhood up Jay Court.
“We have 7-Elevens all up and down Jericho, not on Hillside (Avenue),” deputy mayor Paul Pereira said. “People are going to start to get smart and they’re going to come down those side (streets), down Pembrooke, down Jay and go to that 7-Eleven.”
Regarding refuse and litter spreading to nearby properties, Tartaglia said that it is 7-Eleven’s policy to patrol the area of the store and surrounding area and pick up litter at least twice a day and trashcans are located on the property.
54-year resident Bill Plunkett, along with several others, is opposed of the new store abutting the nearby neighborhood.
“I’ve enjoyed my high quality of life in Mineola and I want my neighbors to have the same,” he said. “I’m here on my behalf of my younger neighbors. I think the proposal devalues the neighborhood.”