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7-Eleven, gas station proposed for Riverside traffic circle to face opposition

A proposal to build a gas station with a 7-Eleven convenience store at the Riverside traffic circle will be the subject of a March 11 virtual work session discussion before the Southampton Town Planning Board, as well as a pre-submission virtual hearing before the Planning Board on March 25. 

A company called 9-11 Flanders, LLC is proposing to redevelop the southeast corner of the circle with a six-pump gasoline station and a 3,024-square-foot 7-Eleven.

The nearly 40,000-square-foot property has been home to an abandoned gas station for many years.

The property is located in the Highway Business Zoning District as well as the Riverside Overlay District.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because in December of 2016, the Southampton Town Planning Board received an application to build a 4,786-square foot Cumberland Farms convenience store with 12 pumps at the same location.

That proposal faced opposition following a work session presentation, and never moved forward. 

The most recent proposal was criticized for its size at a Planning Board work session Feb. 25.

“This is huge,” said Planning Board member Glorian Berk. 

See also: Riverside redevelopment going slowly

Planner Anthony Trezza said that the application will require a number of rulings and variances from the town Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Chief among them is a request for a ruling on whether a convenience store is considered an accessory use to a gas station. 

Beyond that, the applicant also will need a ZBA variance on several setback requirements, a proposal to locate three signs on a canopy and a ruling as to whether they can put a dumpster by Flanders Road.

“There are issues with this site plan, no doubt about it,” Mr. Trezza said. 

Vince Taldone, the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, said in in interview that the community will oppose this project and he plans to have people speak against it at the March 25 hearing. (The public cannot speak at the work session.)

“It’s the worst possible use at that location that I can imagine, in terms of its impact on the rest of the redevelopment plan,” Mr. Taldone said.

The Riverside redevelopment plan envisioned ground-level shops with apartments or offices on the upper floors. 

“This is at right smack in the middle of what is supposed to be a lovely walkable extended sidewalk with buildings and storefronts,” he said. 

Still, Mr. Talmage said, “I’m sympathetic to the property owners because nobody wants to sit on property like that indefinitely. They’re paying pretty stiff taxes on the vacant land.”

He feels the town is to blame for not delivering on a proposed sewer district in Riverside, without which much of the development called for in the Riverside revitalization plans. 

There is currently another 7-Eleven a mile and half to the east of this site, and there are already two gas other stations at the Riverside traffic circle, and three more farther east in Flanders. 

Anthony Curcio, the attorney for the applicant, said he wanted the town to hold the pre-submission conference. He was hoping the project didn’t get delayed and he said he had no opposition to hearing from the public. 

But Planning Board Chair Jacqui Lofaro said it would be more to his advance to have the work session, where he could give a full presentation to the planning board.

“This is a big project,” she said. “We typically request a work session.”

The board ended up scheduling both.