Opposition to proposed 7-Eleven in Port still strong

Opposition to proposed 7-Eleven in Port still strong
Attorney Andrea Curto, center, and 7-Eleven representatives answered questions on a proposed location for one of their stores at Port Washington Boulevard. (Photo by Rose Weldon)

Representatives of 7-Eleven held a meeting with residents of Port Washington to quell concerns over a possible new store in the area, but community members said the biggest issue is the location itself.

The proposed convenience store would be located at 1020 Port Washington Blvd., the site of a former Capital One Bank on the corner of Main Street and Port Boulevard. An application was initially filed in October 2020, asking the town’s Board of Zoning Appeals for a conditional use permit to locate a retail food store in a Business-B zoning district and for variances for insufficient parking stall size and rear yard setback regarding a dumpster.

The BZA application was refiled in mid-April, and the final decision on the matter will lie with that board rather than the North Hempstead town council. A hearing on the matter before the BZA has not yet been scheduled.

Since the filing, over 800 individuals have signed a petition against the 7-Eleven, citing traffic concerns and its proximity to Schreiber High School and Weber Middle School.

Lawyer Andrea Curto of Forchelli, Deegan and Terrana in Uniondale joined with numerous 7-Eleven representatives, including field consultant Eric Merkle, market manager Dion Tongue, and senior real estate representative Gary Ford, to take questions from the community in a meeting last Friday at the proposed site.

Most questions pertained to the reputation of the Main Street and Port Boulevard corner as one of the most dangerous and trafficked intersections on the Port peninsula.

Traffic engineer Andrew Villari of Stonefield Engineering and Design said that he expected customers to only stay at the store briefly.

“We’re in the process of conducting a full traffic study to look at everything in the pedestrian traffic to the intersection,” Villari said. “We did submit a preliminary traffic study, and the site would generate more traffic than a bank use. We have to keep in mind the type of traffic that’s destined for 7-Eleven. You’re not going to have people coming here from Roslyn, you’re going to have people that are already going through the intersection, who think that ‘Oh, I need a cup of coffee,’ ‘I need a bottle of water,’ ‘there’s a 7-Eleven,’ ‘There’s a parking lot, I can just pull right in and keep going.’ Those customers are already going through the intersection as it is.”

Other attendees said that they had no opposition to a 7-Eleven in Port, but that a different location would be preferred due to the traffic difficulties.

Both Curto and traffic engineer Villari said the company would be conducting a traffic study on the area at a time when students were in school, though a date for the study was not mentioned.

Similar traffic concerns from Manhasset residents derailed a proposed 7-Eleven at 260 Plandome Road, and combined with over 1,500 signatures on a petition, led to that application being withdrawn in January. Curto said the Manhasset proposal had been withdrawn because the size of the proposed building was not adequate.

“It wasn’t because the residents of Manhasset were against it?” a community member asked in response.

“I mean that was a consideration but that wasn’t the one,” Curto replied.

“Well, it should be a consideration here, too,” the speaker said.

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