Mattituck 7-Eleven gets clearance from Planning Board

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | The Southold Town Planning Board voted to allow the Mattituck 7-Eleven to open before the state DOT does required road work at its meeting Monday..

The new Mattituck 7-Eleven could be open by Thanksgiving, after the Southold Planning Board unanimously approved amendments to the project’s site plan Monday night.

The convenience store had initially been scheduled to open earlier this fall, but the property’s owners and the franchisee who will run the store discovered in mid-October that work that had been slated to be done by the state Department of Transportation as a condition of the site plan approval had not been scheduled to be done until next spring.

That work includes the removal of a telephone pole at the corner of Factory Avenue and Route 25, and pushing back the curb at that corner to allow vehicles with wide turning radiuses to make the turn at that intersection.

Franchisee Tony Cocheo, who runs the Southold 7-Eleven and was chosen this summer to run the Mattituck store, had hired eight employees and was training them at his Southold store when he discovered the Mattituck 7-Eleven might not be able to open until spring. He’s spent the past month pleading with the Planning Board to allow him to open sooner. Otherwise, he said, he would need to lay off workers and would have to pay rent on the property through the winter months without being able to open for business.

Southold Planning Director Heather Lanza said Monday night that her office was in touch Monday with DOT officials, who assured her they would do their work by the spring.

“They were very helpful,” she said. “We’re confident the DOT is on the ball and ready to roll.”

“Our staff is willing to go down and do their inspection as soon as they can,” Planning Board member Don Wilcenski told Mr. Cocheo after the meeting.

The Planning Board’s approval Monday requires that 7-Eleven put up a performance bond equal to the cost of the work if the DOT does not begin work before May 1, 2012.

7-Eleven employee Casandre Wilcox, whom Mr. Cocheo hired to work in the Mattituck store, sat patiently with her baby through more than three hours of Planning Board hearings to listen to the decision.

“I’m psyched,” she said afterward.

7-Eleven’s attorney, Patricia Moore, said her clients need to take care of a few small items on their site plan before the final inspection, including removing a broken tree limb behind the store that broke off in a recent storm, repairing some striping in the parking lot that was covered when the Suffolk County Water Authority did some work there, and placing a light in front of the store to illuminate the 7-Eleven sign.

Mr. Cocheo said he hopes the store will be open by Thanksgiving.

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