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Mineola concerned about Starbucks coming to LIRR station

An LIRR train pulling into the Mineola LIRR

An LIRR train pulling into the Mineola LIRR station, May 6, 2011. A new Starbucks at the Mineola station may boost the downtown area, but potentially at the expense of additional congestion and parking woes, village officials said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A new Starbucks at the Mineola Long Island Rail Road station may boost the downtown area, but potentially at the expense of additional congestion and parking woes, village officials said.

At a Wednesday public hearing, village trustees lauded the coffee chain’s arrival in Mineola, but asked the company to conduct a detailed parking and traffic study, before moving forward with the application at 210 Station Plaza North.

“We have historically had a tremendous amount of parking issues in that area,” Village Mayor Scott Strauss said. “It’s just tremendously tough down there, at any given day or time.”

The new Starbucks would replace an existing 890-square-foot convenience store and operate as a grab-and-go location, with no seating for customers. The applicant’s architect, Neil MacDonald of East Setauket-based firm William F. Collins, said the business would be open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and primarily serve commuters.

Lindsay Trimarchi, a manager of real estate store development at Starbucks, said the company had specifically scouted the location because of the “better visibility” offered by the LIRR station. Other downtown locations hadn’t been in strong consideration, Trimarchi said.

Though Starbucks operates 78 stores on Long Island, Dunkin’ Donuts “typically services” LIRR passengers, and Starbucks wanted to take this opportunity to remain competitive, Trimarchi said. There is a Dunkin’ Donuts shop located about a half mile away from the Mineola station.

Trustee and Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said that Mineola’s downtown would be “the perfect place” for a Starbucks, calling the area’s mixture of youthful commuters and professional residents a “Starbucks demographic,” but questioned the location’s suitability.

In additional to current congestion, pending downtown development such as the 266-unit Village Green complex was also a factor, Pereira said.

The trustees disagreed with the applicant’s statements that the business wouldn’t attract many cars and instead capture foot traffic.

Trustee George Durham called Starbucks “a destination place” that would serve not only commuters but also residents who might “double-park and jam that area.”

There are also routine buses shuttling local university students, LIRR trucks, and Winthrop-University Hospital deliveries being made in the area, trustee Dennis Walsh said.

The applicant agreed to a parking and traffic study, and the public hearing was continued to the May 11 village meeting.

“We’re excited to have you come down to that downtown area, but we’re not so sure this will be the best place for us as far as traffic and pedestrian flow . . . But the experts will bear that out,” Strauss said.

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