A proposal to build a 7-Eleven convenience store in West Islip has been rejected by the town's planning board, which cited concerns about traffic and the business' 24-hour-a-day operation.
The board at its meeting Thursday voted 4-2 against a change of zone application by SPJ LLC to allow a branch of the convenience store chain to be built at a former gas station on the corner of Udall and Muncey roads, a residential area.
Board member Kevin Brown said previous public hearings on the project in 2012 had elicited "tremendous concerns with the traffic" from the community. Board member Dan DeLuca also voiced concerns about traffic. "I'm uncomfortable" with the store's location, he said.
SPJ's lawyer, Eliot Bloom of Williston Park, said increased traffic to the store would be "imperceptible."
"They draw traffic that's already in the area," he told the board, and noted that the applicant agreed to "cut back significantly on deliveries" to appease neighbors worried about trucks coming through the community.
Brown noted that "the other major concerns is the hours" for the store, which would be open 24 hours a day. "Would your client be willing to have covenants about the hours?" he asked Bloom, who said the store hours are not flexible.
Bloom argued that if the 7-Eleven wasn't approved for the site, "my clients will have to leave it blighted." Brown replied that "just removing blight doesn't make it better."
After the denial, Bloom said his client will try to appeal the decision. "We're going to move forward," he said after the meeting. "I don't think the community wants a blighted property."
The board also voted unanimously to reserve decision on 25 Main Street LLC's proposed medical office building near Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.
Some neighbors attended the hearing to say they supported the 11,000-square-foot, two-story medical office on Montauk Highway if traffic were designed to flow away from the smaller residential streets of Mowbray Lane and Mowbray Place. The traffic issues will be addressed at future meetings.