Bayport residents oppose proposed gas station

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Dozens of Bayport residents have come out against a proposed gas station on the southwest corner of Montauk Highway and Snedecor Avenue.

"I'd be hard-pressed to pick a worse location in Bayport than the one proposed here," Bob Draffin, president of the Bayport Civic Association, said at the Dec. 5 Islip planning board meeting.

Draffin also pointed out there were four gas stations in the nearby blocks.

At the meeting, Quick Chek, a New Jersey-based company, presented its application for a special permit to build a station and convenience store.

"Quick Chek's mission statement is total customer dedication," said the project's principal engineer, Joe Deal. He emphasized what he said was the company's reputation for delicious quick meals and customer service, and said the Bayport station's design would minimize street congestion.

But dozens of residents at the meeting, including Draffin, said the location would draw too much traffic in an area with Bayport-Blue Point High School nearby and the Bayport Fire Department across the street.

"Quick Chek brands itself as community-minded. I ask that they listen to our community," Draffin said to applause.

Deal said the company has been talking to the community about traffic issues. "We had an opportunity to have very good discourse with local civic associations. That is of great concern to us," he said.

Keith Charpentier, a Bayport firefighter, said the location would make it difficult to respond to calls.

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"Half of the fire department members respond by going south on Snedecor," he said. "I just can't see it possibly being safe, putting a Quick Chek in this location."

And Brian Bergen, who owns home heating company Aladdin Fuel a block away on Montauk Highway, presented to the planning board a petition of people opposed to the gas station. He dramatically unscrolled the petition, taped page by page to form a long single document in front of the board, and said he'd gotten 1,002 signatures.

Islip Planning Commissioner Rich Zapolski said while "the application does have merit, the department recommends to reserve decision." The board voted unanimously to do so, with board member Michael Kennedy recusing himself.

Deal responded that Quick Chek "will be making considerable investment" in the community if the application goes through. It's not clear when the board will revisit the application.

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