A revised proposal for a Nesconset Dunkin’ Donuts and office building will move forward without an environmental study and could come before the Smithtown Town Council for a vote on a needed change of zone as early as March 5, town Supervisor Edward Wehrheim said.
The triangular parcel at Browns Road and Route 347 backs onto a parking lot for Sprofera Park, which is popular with residents for its ballfields and playground equipment.
Neighbors called an earlier version, presented at a public hearing last year, out of place for their residential neighborhood.
The land is zoned residential, and developers are asking for a change to wholesale service industry. A drive-thru 1,813-square-foot Dunkin’ Donuts would occupy one lot; a two-story, 12,450-square-foot building with medical and other office space would occupy the other lot, with 120 total parking spaces.
Revised plans call for a landscaped berm to circle most of the 2.7-acre parcel, with one curb cut along Route 347 for entrance and exit. That cut, with one lane in and one lane out, was moved west from the Browns Road intersection to alleviate neighbors’ concerns about traffic flow, Wehrheim said.
“Browns Road will be completely buffered … to protect Browns Road and residents,” he said.
Town planners and planning board members in 2017, considering an earlier version of the proposal, recommended against permitting a change of zone. A planning board memo cited the town comprehensive plan, which designated the optimal use of the Route 347 corridor as single-family use, and said that Nesconset already had a sufficient amount of commercially zoned land.
Vincent Trimarco Sr., a land use attorney who is representing Jesse Walia, who owns several Dunkin’ franchises and would develop the one on the parcel, said the comprehensive plan, which is being updated, was out of step with development that has already taken place along Route 347.
He said the project’s impact on the area would be minimal. “This particular Dunkin’ Donuts is not a destination,” he said. “It’s people who are going to work that are going to come in off 347 and go out” again.
Peter Hanson, board member of We Are Nesconset, a local civic association, said his group had not taken a stance on the project and had not been approached by local residents. He said he wasn't thrilled to welcome another Dunkin' to the area — a company website shows 10 locations in and around Smithtown — but that's "free enterprise," he said.