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Huntington seeks dismissal of suit aimed at blocking 7-Eleven

The Town of Huntington has asked the State

The Town of Huntington has asked the State Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that aims to overturn the zoning board's decision to allow a 7-Eleven in Centerport. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The Town of Huntington has asked the State Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that aims to overturn the zoning board's decision to allow a 7-Eleven store in Centerport.

The Centerport Harbor Civic Association, three residents and a business owner sued last July, after the zoning board of appeals approved 7-Eleven's application for a stand-alone store at Route 25A and Little Neck Road.

The town filed its response to the suit, requesting the dismissal, on May 1.

Residents Ronald Pickerell, Steven Goldstein and Gerald McCarthy, business owner Saumil Gandhi and the civic association sued the ZBA, the Town of Huntington, 7-Eleven, the property owners and the Suffolk County Planning Commission.

The suit argued that the ZBA failed to comply with some State Environmental Quality Review Act procedures, so the special permit and variance granted are "void and . . . unauthorized," and should both be annulled.

But James Matthews, the ZBA's attorney, said the board's "attention to environmental issues was extraordinarily deep."

Matthews said the main issue was vehicular traffic, which the board addressed by approving the application with several conditions, such as requiring the use of smaller box trucks and prohibiting certain hours for deliveries.

In court documents, the town's attorney said it was "pure fantasy to suggest that a thorough review of the only significant environmental issue, traffic to and from the site, did not occur and was not adequately addressed in the ZBA determination."

Brian Rathgaber and Shawn Meaney own the former gas station and signed a deal with 7-Eleven in May 2010. The corporation submitted its pre-application to the town the following April.

7-Eleven's application has been submitted for site approval to the town planning board, but a public hearing has not yet been scheduled, according to Thomas Abbate, Rathgaber's attorney.

"I feel very confident about the future of the project because we got a grant from the zoning board of appeals," Abbate said.

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