Two Brookhaven council members are bickering over whether a public hearing about possibly constructing Suffolk County's first Chick-fil-A restaurant should have been set.
A hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 3, but outgoing Democratic Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld, who represents District 1, says restaurant applicant KOR hasn't contacted him or civic leaders about the proposal for Port Jefferson Station.
"I know the people in that community have fought to prevent it from being blighted or overdeveloped," the councilman said Tuesday. "And some of the people were concerned that there would be yet another fast-food restaurant there."
But newly re-elected Republican Councilman Tim Mazzei, who sponsored the resolution to set the hearing despite representing District 5, said the developer is expected to meet with Fiore-Rosenfeld and civic leaders before the hearing.
Anne Lerner, Chick-fil-A spokeswoman, said the eatery welcomes community input.
Attorney Tim Shea, who represents Port Jefferson Station-based KOR, said the developer has met with local civic leaders and tried unsuccessfully to reach Fiore-Rosenfeld.
Fiore-Rosenfeld said he takes issue with Mazzei making moves in his district. "I'm just wondering why [he is] pushing so forcefully over the local councilperson and the local civic," Fiore-Rosenfeld said. "I'm not saying we won't do this. I'm saying let's give the normal process its due . . . I don't go around proposing change of zones in his district."
Mazzei said he sponsored the item because Fiore-Rosenfeld tried to block the project. "We haven't voted on anything. If it's a good project, it will move forward," Mazzei said. "If it's not a good project, it won't. We're simply setting a public hearing."
The Dec. 3 hearing, approved by a 4-3 vote in last week's town board meeting, will be held at town hall. The hearing will also include a proposal for another "major" fast-food restaurant and a building, all of which requires zoning change and special permit approval, town records show. The development would be on the site of a former car dealership on Route 347 near Terryville Road, officials said.