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Brookhaven planners to vote on proposed Walmart

More than 200 East Patchogue residents turned out

More than 200 East Patchogue residents turned out to Brookhaven's Planning Board meeting on May 19, 2014 to voice their concerns about a proposed Walmart. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The Brookhaven Planning Board plans to vote on a proposed Walmart in East Patchogue at its board meeting early next month.

Planning board chairman Vincent E. Pascale on Wednesday declined to comment on the vote's potential outcome but urged residents to attend the Aug. 4 meeting at Town Hall in Farmingville at 4 p.m.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants to build a 98,000-square-foot store at the northeast corner of Hospital Road and Sunrise Highway, near Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center.

But neighbors have opposed the store, as have Suffolk County officials, who say it would necessitate the clearing of 11.6 acres of vegetation.

Wal-Mart filed a site plan application in August 2008, but Suffolk County's Planning Commission rejected the retailer's application last December.

However, Brookhaven's planning board can approve construction with five votes instead of its normal four, town officials said.

Brookhaven Town Councilman Tim Mazzei -- who represents East Patchogue in the Fifth District -- on Wednesday said he's opposed to building the big-box store.

"I'm not against Walmart as a store, but I'm against it at that location. I'm extremely concerned about traffic issues, especially with the hospital [nearby]," the councilman said. "Anybody who goes across Hospital Road bridge at 5 p.m. knows that will be a disaster."

John Harter, a Hauppauge engineer representing Wal-Mart, has said the retailer is willing to invest $1.25 million to revamp two traffic lights and construct another to ease traffic.

And Hauppauge attorney David Sloane, who represents Wal-Mart, has said the national retailer would add 100 construction jobs and another 250 part-time and full-time positions once the store is built.

But Jacquelyn Schwicke, president of the Miramar Beach Civic Association in East Patchogue, disputes the store's forecast of the project's impact.

"Come on. How much traffic can one area take?" she asked. "It would be a nightmare while under construction. Roads are already backed up."


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