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Malverne gas station plan faces opposition

Hempstead Town Hall Plaza is at 1 Washington

Hempstead Town Hall Plaza is at 1 Washington St. Credit: J.C. Cherubini, 2011

Malverne residents have asked the Hempstead Town board to reject an application from a local gas station looking to reopen, complaining that the poorly maintained site is in a blind spot and a dangerous high traffic area.

The board held a public hearing last week on the application from Snuggle Ventures Inc. to rezone from residential to business a property on the northwest corner of Hempstead Avenue and Morris Avenue in Malverne Park, an unincorporated area of the town. The company also submitted a petition for a permit to install four storage tanks, each with a capacity of 22,000 gallons, within its existing gasoline service station property.

The gas station, which dates to 1925, has been nonoperational since February, but the repair shop remains open, said the company's Uniondale-based attorney, Michael Sahn. He said his client is looking to replace the tanks because they were out-of-date. There are no plans to expand the building or change property use and there still would be one pump island with four dispensers, Sahn said.

The proposed station hours would be seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., while the repair shop would continue to operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sahn said.

The board reserved decision on the petition after residents said they were concerned about the unkempt property, noise, hours of operation and traffic.

"That gas station looks horrible," said Phillip Parrino, an 18-year resident of Malverne Park who was among a handful of residents who said they would be willing to compromise only if the station closed at 9 p.m. and the property was kept clean.

At the hearing, Sahn said in response, "We have done our best and will address those issues." The station would not dispense 110-octane gasoline in order not to attract loud, high-performing vehicles, he said.

Malverne Village trustee Michael Bailey said at the hearing that the Nassau County Planning Commission found that the site at the convergence of Morris, Hempstead and Ocean avenues is problematic, might present ingress and egress problems and is not appropriate for such commercial use. The commission also has noted the high traffic volume, vehicles moving at high speeds and site line problems for north and southbound traffic.

"Today it just does not fit," Bailey said of the service station. "It is a safety issue."

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