Proposed Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru riles Smithtown residents

Architect Steven Cataldo presents plans for a drive-up Architect Steven Cataldo presents plans for a drive-up window at a Smithtown Dunkin' Donuts at a Jan. 28, 2014 Smithtown zoning board meeting. Photo Credit: Newsday / Lauren R. Harrison

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Zoning variance requests to install a drive-thru window at a Smithtown Dunkin' Donuts have aggravated neighbors who say the property is an eyesore.

Dunkin' Donuts franchisee AGJ Four Inc., of Brookville, which is leasing space at a small shopping center at 550 Smithtown Bypass, sought a variance to reduce the number of parking spaces and several sign variances to allow for the new plans at a Smithtown zoning board meeting Tuesday.

Steven Cataldo, AGJ Four's architect, said the site plan approved in 1962 had different requirements.

"The parking stalls themselves were not required to be 9 feet wide" as is the case now, he said, adding that fewer parking spaces are also needed because of meters, light poles, signs, trash bins and a transformer.

Christine Martirano, managing partner of 111 Associates LLC, which owns a small shopping center adjacent to the one that houses Dunkin' Donuts, said the property was "in terrible disrepair, including its parking lot," and that approving the variances would hurt her businesses.

"The community thinks that we own this building," she said of the other shopping center. "I've had neighbors post boycott notices. We're ready to put a fence up right across the front of our building on that property line."

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Cataldo said the parking lot is supposed to be maintained by the property owner, which records show is JKH Realty Group LLC. Jagir Singh, listed as company chairman, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Donna Nebgen, who lives near the Dunkin' Donuts, echoed Martirano's view on the property's lack of curb appeal.

"This is one of the most horrible looking shopping centers in all of Smithtown," she said. "I think it's a disgrace to the town."

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Nebgen added that she is concerned about traffic flow for the drive-thru and a recently added spotlight that "shines right in the back of my house."

Cataldo said he would talk with his client regarding the lighting, and noted that plans call for a 10-foot buffer zone to shield nearby homes.

The application was adjourned to Feb. 25 to allow AGJ Four Inc. to work with the Smithtown planning department to create a better plan.

"We're going to work together to perhaps reconfigure the parking lot so that it would be acceptable to everyone," Cataldo said.

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