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Smithtown zoning board rejects CVS bid for St. James store

Signs opposing a proposed CVS store in St.

Signs opposing a proposed CVS store in St. James line Lake Avenue on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The proposed site is at Woodlawn and Lake avenues. Credit: Ed Betz

The Smithtown Board of Zoning Appeals has struck down an application to build a CVS store in St. James that was opposed by many residents.

The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to deny CVS Albany LLC's special exception request to permit parking in a residential district, as well as a dozen variances and requirement waivers. The company wanted to raze three buildings and construct a 13,551-square-foot retail store at Woodlawn and Lake avenues.

Zoning board chairwoman Adrienne Giannadeo said in an interview Thursday that she voted against the application partly because "it really was not in the character of the neighborhood."

Giannadeo said she was particularly struck by the testimony of a former CVS employee who detailed multiple truck deliveries at the business each week, which Giannadeo said "would really be a negative impact on the neighborhood."

CVS also sought to reduce the number of parking spaces required from 136 to 57, which Giannadeo said was quite substantial.

CVS wanted the right to park cars strictly on the residential parcel of its three-parcel site, said Smithtown BZA attorney Paul Hennings. "But it wasn't just a small amount of parking," he said. "Most of it was devoted to parking, so the board felt this was more reflective of a request to change the zoning from residential to commercial, and they felt it was unfair."

Zone changes must go before the town board, and CVS Albany withdrew its application in November.

Vincent J. Trimarco Sr., attorney for CVS, said Thursday that he had not yet read the BZA's decision, nor discussed it with his client.

"I don't know whether CVS wants to move forward," he said.

Mary Dwyer, 55, who lives near the site, said she was happy about the decision, but skeptical that CVS would give up on the property.

"I just don't think that it's over for them," she said. "A big corporation doesn't give up that easily."

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