Smithtown officials have approved plans for a drive-thru window at a Dunkin' Donuts in Hauppauge, but with conditions that include planting trees, and obtaining town and state permits for the addition.
Town board members -- acting as the board of site plan review -- voted unanimously, 5-0, at a Dec. 16 meeting to approve the window at the 1,815-square-foot store in a shopping center at state routes 347 and 111.
The site is adjacent, but not connected, to another strip mall and together they form an L shape of shops, according to zoning board documents.
Adrienne Giannadeo, chairwoman of the town Board of Zoning Appeals, said at a May meeting that the adjacent buildings make the site "unusual" in that "the buildings and parking on both sites are designed in a manner that makes them appear to be one site."
AGJ Four Inc., the Hauppauge company that owns the Dunkin' Donuts, sought variances in January, saying it was not possible to add a drive-thru lane without removing parking spots required for the size of the center. The Dunkin' Donuts addition will eliminate seven of the 40 parking spaces, according to zoning documents.
Christine Martirano, a managing member at 111 Associates LLC, which owns the adjacent shopping center, said in January that variances for the coffee shop would hurt her property and that the owner of the strip mall that has the Dunkin' Donuts did not maintain the parking lot.
"The community thinks that we own this building. I've had threatening phone calls to my office. People threatening to burn my building down," she said, adding that patrons park in her better-maintained lot. "We're at a point where we're ready to put a fence up right across the front of our building."
In 2010, an employee at the Dunkin' Donuts died when he fell into a cesspool with a collapsed metal cover behind the shop. Amiri Zeqiri, 17, of Central Islip, was taking garbage out when he fell.
A representative from AGJ Four was not immediately available for comment yesterday.
Peter Hans, principal town planner, said the drive-thru window plans will be positive for residents north of the site, because they include a 10-foot buffer with evergreen plantings and new light poles limited to 18 feet in height, shielded away from residential properties and directed downward.
"You don't want the commercial uses to overly impact the adjacent residents," he said. "They already have a bad situation there, and we wanted to use this to make it better."