A chorus of Mineola residents shouted down a proposal for a gas station and convenience store on a vacant lot at 449 Jericho Turnpike at a Mineola Zoning Board public hearing last Thursday night.
The zoning board withheld a decision on granting several variances on the application by Garden City-based Bolla Management Corporation, as they await results of a site plan review by the Nassau County Planning Commission expected next month.
Bolla Management is seeking several variances including ones for a rear-yard setback of one foot instead of the 10 feet the village code requires, a front-yard setback on the canopy of 19.5 feet instead of the 40 feet required, and the size of proposed ground-signage of 59 square feet, exceeding the 30-square foot limit. A 12-foot rear set back is being proposed for a loading stall instead of the the village code requirement of 15 feet.
Ed Heyduk, a resident of Emory Road, took issue with the size of the property and the proposed variances.
“This building here is too big for that size property. You’re going to have six gasoline tanks there? Give the residents a break,” Heyduk said.
Tony Casillo, who lives two blocks away from the proposed gas station on Latham Road, expressed concern about navigating that Jericho Turnpike intersection.
“There may be 30,000 cars that pass by everyday, but what I ask is what will that do to enhance the quality of life of our residents? I do not believe that it will,” Casilo said.
Tom Raad, a resident of Latham Road since 1950, urged the board to hold up the village code restrictions “to the inch.”
Raad said he currently has trouble making a left-hand turn from Jericho Turnpike onto Latham. Raad also pointed out a convenience store and gas station already located at the nearby intersection of Herricks Road and Jericho Turnpike.
The lot sits on a 20,000 square foot property, which has 200 feet of frontage on Jericho Turnpike, a lot depth of 100 feet, and 100 feet of frontage on White and Latham roads.
David Altman, an attorney representing Bolla Management, said the companhy is proposing to redevelop the parcel, which was previously approved as a gasoline service station and automotive repair shop. The convenience store would occupyi 2,460 square feet along the southern portion of the property. A Getty gas station that had been located on the property burned down several years ago.
Six fuel dispensers would be installed on the northern side of the property, running parallel to Jericho Turnpike, with four carrying petroleum and two for petroleum and diesel.
Bill Urianek, a resident of Mineola for nearly 60 years, said, “This is our village, not theirs. If they’re going to come here to set up a business, let them do it on our conditions.”
Objecting to the convenience store, Urianek stated: “It brings more traffic, more garbage. I’m absolutely against it.”
Brown said a convenience store has become “ubiquitous with the sale of gasoline. To simply sell gasoline itself, you can’t survive on the market.”
Altman cited the rising cost of gas, increased taxes, and increased number of credit purchases for gas.
Robert Kohler of Stonefield Engineering and Design estimated that 33,000 cars would travel past the station on Jericho Turnpike.
Maria McCarey, a resident on White Road, said lighting on the property would shine through the bedroom windows of their home at the rear of the property and objected to the side effects of the convenience store.
“In Mineola, we have mice, rabbits, rats, cats and other animals, and they’re going to make a nice little home there,” McCarey said. “Nobody is going to be able to go back there to clean it up.”
She also expressed concern about drainage problems at the Getty gas station that previously occupied the location.
Village of Mineola Zoning Board Chairman John Macedo said drainage issues would be reviewed by the Mineola Building Department. Macedo said concerns about the convenience store should be addressed to the village board.
When Macedo asked if any village residents in the packed board room favored the proposal, no one replied.
Specifically addressing the rear-yard setback of 1 ft. variance request, Macedo stated “you can’t even fit a guy sweeping the floor back there,” which Larry O’Brien acknowledged: “the intension is to not have anyone there, a fence will be positioned within that 1 ft. space.” When asked about the possibility of there being another fire and how fire department members could enter, O’Brien said “in this case, it would not be a requirement for entryway there.”
Altman responded to the resident’s concerns, specifically pertaining to the one-foot rear setback complaints, stating he will address Bolla Management Corporation about the site design.
“We’re here to be a good neighbor...we’ll take a look at all these concerns and if we can configure or design in a way that makes more sense, we will certainly do that,” Altman said.