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Nesconset residents call for development moratorium along boulevard

Nesconset residents worry about traffic from new convenience

Nesconset residents worry about traffic from new convenience stores, such as the Cumberland Farms at Smithtown Boulevard and Rosevale Avenue. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Frustrated Nesconset residents recently demanded a temporary halt to commercial development along Smithtown Boulevard — a request Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said he could not grant.

“It’s virtually impossible,” Wehrheim said in an interview. “If we did a moratorium it would have to be townwide. You can’t just put a moratorium on Nesconset.”

The residents, many of them members of the Nesconset Civic Association, said last week a spate of recent convenience store openings was overwhelming their hamlet and bringing dangerous traffic congestion. Another, which planning documents suggest will be a 7-Eleven, was proposed last month for vacant land at Smithtown Boulevard and Nichols Road.

George Smith, who lives near that site, said his vehicle had been hit twice as he tried to turn into his driveway. “I’ve had cars go up on the grass to get by me because they don’t want to wait,” he said.

“Please take into account the safety issues before you make plans about anything else,” said Peter Hanson, a civic board member.

Patricia Stoddard and Amy Fortunato, who ran unsuccessfully for a town council seat last year, also urged the town to complete a master plan before further development.

The town last week issued a request for proposals for a comprehensive plan, with responses due May 24. Wehrheim said the plan would take a year or more to develop.

In an interview, he warned that a development moratorium could have unintended consequences such as a flood of proposals from developers trying to beat the deadline.

A townwide moratorium could also adversely affect places such as downtown Kings Park and St. James just as revitalization plans ramp up in those areas.

Wehrheim did say, however, that he had ordered the town’s traffic safety director to do traffic counts on Nichols Road and study “any measures we can make to make Nichols Road safer.”

The town has no authority over Smithtown Boulevard, which is a Suffolk County road, he said.

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