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CVS will be allowed to move, preserve LaGrange Inn

West Islip's historic and long-shuttered LaGrange Inn.

West Islip's historic and long-shuttered LaGrange Inn. Credit: Sabrina de Sampaio, 2008

The historic LaGrange Inn in West Islip will be moved and preserved by drugstore chain CVS, which has won a long-fought battle to build on the inn's site.

The town board unanimously voted in favor of the CVS application.

CVS filed an application in 2012 to build a drugstore at Montauk Highway and Higbie Lane, and move the 2,100-square-foot portion of the original 1750 inn to another part of the site.

Rich Zapolski, Islip's planning commissioner, said after years of negotiating with various interested parties, the CVS proposal now meets the town's standards. "This application has been brought to the point where it has the planning department's support," he said.

The application was approved at a hearing Thursday.

The company made some changes to its initial application, including moving the inn to the eastern part of the site facing Higbie Lane, shifting the location of an access road and trash container, and reducing the hours of the drive-through. "CVS was hoping for a 24-hour drive-through, but we heard the community loud and clear," said the company's lawyer Anthony Guardino.

"There is no free lunch with this, so compromise and discussions ensued, and this is where we are today," said Joseph DeCarlo, president of the West Islip Association.

Gail Gyarmathy, vice president of the West Islip Historical Association, said the group will be able to use the LaGrange Inn for storage and occasional displays, and requested the CVS logo on signs to be green to match the inn's signature shutters.

Some residents maintained the intersection was too busy to sustain the proposed CVS and worried about traffic and truck noise. "This completely ignores the direct impact on the quality of life of the neighbors to the north," said Antonio Formica, who lives on Wilherm Lane north of the site.

Another Wilherm Lane resident, Joe Brewer, said it appeared the community had no choice. "I feel like we're forced into this because the owner has the ability to have this [the inn] destroyed," he said.

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