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New Cumberland Farms in Nesconset sparks worries about traffic

A new Cumberland Farms is set to open

A new Cumberland Farms is set to open soon at Smithtown Boulevard and Rosevale Avenue in Nesconset, seen on Feb. 26, 2018. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Traffic at a Cumberland Farms set to open soon could make for a “demolition derby,” a Nesconset civic leader warned.

Nesconset Civic Association board member Peter Hanson said he feared that customers would turn across multiple lanes of traffic to reach the gas station and fast-casual restaurant, located at the southeast corner of Smithtown Boulevard and Rosevale Avenue near the Ronkonkoma-Nesconset border.

Rosevale Avenue has a 40 mph speed limit with three lanes of northbound traffic at the Cumberland Farms location. The access road to a condominium project is located nearby.

Hanson, who said he was familiar with the intersection after 40 years of driving to work in New York City, said he feared the situation would be worst at evening rush hour, with commuters off Long Island Expressway Exit 59 accelerating north on Rosevale Avenue through the intersection.

“We’ve all done it,” Hanson said.

Since the location sits off Suffolk County roads, Hanson said he’d asked county officials about the possibility of installing traffic signals or no turn signs. They told him none were needed, he said.

Gilbert Anderson, commissioner of the county’s Department of Public Works, said in a statement that the development’s site plan had undergone numerous rigorous reviews. Access to the property was consolidated and moved “as far as possible” from the intersection, following accepted best practices, he said.

Cumberland Farms representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

The site was formerly occupied by a vacant building that was badly damaged last year by a “suspicious” fire, Nesconset Fire Department officials said at the time. The fire is still under investigation, a Suffolk County Police Department spokeswoman said.

The Smithtown Town Council adopted a site plan for Cumberland Farms in 2017, but the matter attracted little public attention at the time.

Cumberland Farms was set to open Wednesday, but Smithtown planning director David Flynn said Monday that the town had not yet granted a certificate of occupancy because the store canopy was higher than town code permits. The store would have to get a variance or lower or remove the canopy to comply, he said

The 4,738-square-foot store, which has a restaurant, three self-service food-ordering kiosks and 12 fueling stations, reflects a trend of fuel sellers branching out to food and other items that have higher profit margins than gas.

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