A 19-year-old lawsuit filed by the Town of Huntington against the owner of a former car dealership has been settled.
The agreement coincided with the withdrawal of a zoning change application to allow the construction of a QuickChek convenience store and gas station on the site. But the part of the application to build an LA Fitness at the site can proceed, town officials said.
In 1996, the town sued Rice Properties in a dispute over construction at Hagstrom Buick/Tom Rice Buick on the northwest corner of Jericho Turnpike and West Hills Road and permits the town issued and later revoked.
In May 2013, Port Jefferson Station-based Matrix Investment Group LLC contracted with Rice to buy the site. Matrix applied for a zone change for the roughly 6-acre property, from general business district to automotive service station district and minor commercial corridor district.
The town and Rice Properties reached a settlement in recent weeks, removing the covenant limiting the use of the property to new car sales; and Matrix withdrew the zone change request.
John Schaninger, vice president of sales and merchandising for QuickChek, said they did not think they had enough support for the project.
QuickChek officials have said their long-range strategy is to open two to three stores a year on Long Island. In January, the Islip Town Board denied QuickChek's application to build a store there.
Schaninger said the company would like to open in Huntington. "We remain hopeful that someday we will be able to build there and be a part of the community of Huntington either [on Jericho Turnpike] or at another location," he said.
Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said a new application will be reviewed on its own merit. "But one of the big concerns of the previous application was the size of the building and the number of bays," Petrone said.
Town officials said the proposed 40,150-square-foot LA Fitness would not require a zone change to be constructed.
Keith Brown, the Melville-based attorney representing Matrix, said the LA Fitness needs planning board site plan approval.