Residents from Bellmore and Merrick publicly expressed their frustration this week over an application by a local gas station looking to expand, and requested the implementation of town parking permits at two local train stations and the repaving of residential streets.
At Tuesday's Hempstead Town Board meeting, several residents asked the panel to reject the application by 1206 Bellmore Avenue Realty Corp. for a permit to convert an automobile repair shop into a convenience store and erect a canopy over three gasoline pumps. The applicant is also looking to operate 24 hours a day.
The town board originally held a public hearing about the petition -- for the Citgo gas station on the south side of Jerusalem between Bellmore Avenue and Park Avenue in North Bellmore -- on June 19. Residents' comments at Tuesday's board meeting were added to the record, including a petition with 200 signatures against the application.
Opponents said Tuesday that they were concerned that the store and expanded hours would increase noise and traffic at the busy intersection. They also accused store personnel of selling cigarettes to minors and said illegal drug activity occurs at the site.
"We are not aware of any of this [criminal activity]," Kevin J. O'Brien, attorney for the applicant, said at the June 19 hearing. Responding to residents' suggestions that the business cannot legally be open round the clock, he said there is "no restriction on hours of operation."
O'Brien said Wednesday there are no plans to remove any trees; and there would be additional landscaping. He added he would be willing to meet with the community to present the revised plans for the site, which are expected to be complete by the end of the week.
The board was also asked about a pilot permit parking program for residents in portions of the Long Island Rail Road's Merrick and Bellmore stations. The two stations are the only Nassau County locations on the Babylon branch that do not have reserved parking for town or village residents.
Town attorney Joseph Ra said the town has a final meeting on Monday with LIRR officials. When a proposal is ready, it will be presented to the community, Ra said.