A vacant lot that includes a boarded-up gas station along Main Street in Bay Shore that nearby residents call an eyesore may get its first new development in 13 years.
Bolla Oil, which has a chain of 85 gas stations with convenience food stores across the metropolitan area, is expected to apply to the Town of Islip within 45 days for a $2.5 million, 10-pump gas station and a 2,500-square-foot deli, according to Roger Delisle of Island Associates Real Estate Inc., which owns the three parcels that make up the plot.
The 1-acre site, between Seafield Lane and Sunset Road on the north side of Main Street, attracts the homeless, said Helen Kaloudis, 42, whose father owns the nearby Forum Diner.
"We go over there and clean up about once a week," Kaloudis said. "You'll find everything over there: beer bottles, garbage, tires. It's like a junkyard. It's not a good look for the town."
Donna Periconi, president of the Greater Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, said many businesses have tried to occupy the land for years, such as Starbucks, 7-Eleven and a bank, but each project failed to move forward for various reasons. Three boarded-up buildings sit on the site.
"We were pleased to see interest from the Bolla Corporation," Periconi said. "But we have concerns."
Since 2009, the Town of Islip has issued three summonses against Island Associates for maintenance issues like overgrown weeds and abandoned cars, said Inez Birbiglia, town spokeswoman. The town has also cleaned up graffiti on the property several times.
Over the years, the site has also been cleaned up for two environmental spills and a third job is currently being finished, Delisle said.
Harry Singh, Bolla Oil's president and CEO, and his team of analysts and developers recently gave a 90-minute presentation to more than 150 people at a chamber meeting at the Brightwaters Library to address concerns. At the meeting, residents said the site attracts drug activity.
Singh promised his gourmet deli with cherry and mahogany decorative accents will carry organic coffee that costs "not a penny more than Dunkin' Donuts." He said he will spend roughly $40,000 to $50,000 each year for landscaping, which would include flowers such as tulips and mums.
Many residents raised questions about zoning issues -- the project will require a zoning change -- and incoming traffic, especially for delivery trucks that may travel along the adjacent residential streets. But Singh said gas stations are hardly a source of additional traffic for communities.
"Nobody drives extra miles to go to a gas station because it's a better looking gas station," Singh said. "If I'm on your way, you'll stop."
Periconi said she'd like to see shorter hours of operation, fewer gas islands and for the community to have design input, all things that Singh has promised to consider. She said she feels that something needs to be done with the "blighted" site that sits at the entrance to downtown Bay Shore, a hamlet that has seen a revitalization over the past two decades.
"There seem to be few other options," Periconi said. "We've tried for 13 other years."