Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00
For Jeremiah O’Carroll, owner of O’Carroll’s Recovery Room, when it comes to town politics, something is better than nothing.
Still, he did want a little more.
Last week, the Mineola Village Board voted 4-0 to let O'Carroll expand his restaurant/tavern at Station Plaza in Mineola, but at the same time nixed his plan to also build a health shake shop next door. Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, who was not present at O’Carroll’s December hearing, abstained from the vote.
Village officials explained in a written decision that rush-hour traffic, taxi cabs and commuter pick-ups and drop-offs at the Mineola Train Station factored into the ruling. While no traffic study was conducted, Mineola officials found the “proposed carry-out food establishment would undoubtedly increase the number of vehicles attempting to access and park in the area,” which is already congested. O’Carroll would not comment because he had not seen the decision.
“Station Plaza is a central transportation hub in Mineola,” Village Attorney John Spellman read from the decision. “Preserving and promoting safe passage through this challenging vehicular gauntlet is a major objective of the village.”
O’Carroll is free to expand his bar. Village officials asserted the difference between a carry-out restaurant and a bar/restaurant is what drove the partial approval.
“The distinction between a restaurant and a carry-out business is made [in the village code] for a reason,” Spellman said. “Patrons of a restaurant generally park their vehicles for a period of time, enter the restaurant and enjoy their meals while dining. It’s perceived for them to park their vehicles even a distance [away]. Patrons of a take-out food establishment...are ordinarily on the run.”
The railroad station has 23 daily departures between 6:30 and 10 a.m. The store would have operated Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“The area is serviced by pull-in/pull-out metered spaces, the utilization of which routinely blocks traffic flow,” Spellman read. “Parking restrictions in the area will require patrons to park in unpermitted areas or even double-park.”
Another sticking point with the village board was planned usage of the rear of the proposed shop, which would have been sectioned off and include expanding the bar’s dart room, which Mayor Scott Strauss called “odd” at last year’s hearing.
“The proposed use consists of an over-intensification of land use...and a recipe for conflict with the traffic circulation in the area,” Spellman stated.