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Wal-Mart committed to building East Patchogue store

Jean Hardy, of North Patchogue, left, and MaryAnn

Jean Hardy, of North Patchogue, left, and MaryAnn Johnston, of the affiliated Brookhaven Civic Association, on the corner of Hospital Road and the westbound service road of Sunrise Highway in East Patchogue on May 13, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

Wal-Mart is pushing ahead to build a big box store in East Patchogue despite Suffolk County's earlier disapproval and residential opposition.

If built, the 98,000-square-foot store would sit at the northeast corner of Hospital Road and Sunrise Highway, near Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center. County officials say that 11.6 acres of vegetation must be cleared for the development.

Wal-Mart originally filed a site application in August 2008. Suffolk County's Economic Development and Planning Department disapproved the national retailer's application in December of last year.

Despite the disapprovals, the Brookhaven Planning Board can vote to approve construction with five votes instead of its normal four, town officials said.

Brookhaven Planning Board members will hold a public hearing on the proposed project Monday at 4 p.m. at Town Hall.

Citing the lack of "an appropriate location for such a large retail use," the economic development report, in part, concluded: "This type of development at this location should be avoided."

Town Councilman Tim Mazzei, who represents East Patchogue, couldn't be reached for comment.

Residents near the site have opposed its construction since it was first proposed.

"Why does Wal-Mart want to be where it's not welcome?" said MaryAnn Johnston, president of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization. "Take a hike."

Hauppauge attorney David Sloane, who represents Wal-Mart, said there is also opposition from some unions that have long supported employees of the retailer becoming unionized.

Sloane, who didn't know how much it would cost to build the store, said the retailer would add 100 construction jobs and another 250 part-time and full-time positions once it was built.

As for the East Patchogue site, "They feel it's a good place for it," Sloane said.

John Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, said hiring workers from the Building and Construction Trades of Nassau and Suffolk counties would be "the only positive outcome" of constructing the store.

Jacquelyn Schwicke, president of the Miramar Beach Civic Association in East Patchogue, said she doesn't want one of Wal-Mart's stores in her neighborhood. She said the retailer would hurt local businesses.

Johnston agreed, saying the store would impact Patchogue and Bellport's business districts.

The county's December report, however, concluded those districts would be minimally impacted.

Johnston said she is willing to go further if Brookhaven approves the application.

"If Brookhaven approves this plan, we're filing suit," Johnston said.

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