Riverside 7-Eleven up for hearing; Southampton ZBA will decide

A proposal to locate a 7-Eleven convenience store and gas station on the Riverside traffic circle will be before the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals for a virtual public hearing Thursday, Jan. 20, at 6 p.m. 

The applicant, 9-11 Flanders Road LLC, needs a ZBA interpretation that the proposed 3,024-square-foot gasoline station is “customary accessory use” to the proposed gas station.

It also will require six zoning variances, according to the notice for the public hearing.

These include setback variances for both the gas station and the convenience store; 36 parking spaces, fewer than the required 55 parking spaces; allowing off-street parking where it is not permitted within a 50-foot minimum required front yard; a 48-square-foot monument sign, where the maximum size permitted by town code is 32 square feet; and two proposed wall signs on the north and east side of the canopy, where only one sign facing the street is permitted by zoning. 

The proposed development would replace a vacant Getty gas station that has been at this location for at least 10 years. 

There are two other gas stations, both with smaller convenience stores, at the Riverside traffic circle. 

The 9-11 Flanders LLC application calls for a gas station with six pumps that can serve two cars each and a 7-Eleven.

There is currently an existing 7-Eleven a mile and half east of this site on Flanders Road in Flanders, and there is a recently opened 7-Eleven on West Main Street in Riverhead and one at the Long Island Expressway entrance in Calverton, which also has a gas station.

The proposal was the subject of pre-submission hearing before the Town Planning Board last March, during which four residents spoke against it and two civic associations opposed it.

Vince Taldone, the former president of the Flanders, Riverhead and Northampton Community Association, said his group had also submitted petitions and letters from more than 100 people against the project. The group also sought a moratorium on new gas stations in this area. 

“This is like trying to fit 20 pounds of potatoes into a 10-pound bag,” he said in an interview. “They don’t have enough land for this project, and they want the town to give them a pass?”

He said the 7-Eleven could create the type of high volume traffic the town is seeking to avoid through its zoning. 

The site is located in the Highway Business zoning district as well as the Riverside Overlay district. The town’s Riverside Redevelopment Action Plan allowed for overlay zoning that would permit small, ground-level stores or restaurants and upper floor apartments, although those uses are dependent on having a sewage treatment plant available.

Lorraine Paceleo, a representative of the Bay View Pines Civic Association in Flanders, said last year that that organization is also opposed to the 7-Eleven. 

Representatives for the applicant said it will remove an eyesore on the property, referring to the vacant Getty gas station. They also said that property owners can’t wait for the town to connect this area to sewage treatment, which is needed to develop the area. 

A gas station is a permitted use on the Riverside traffic circle, but a 7-Eleven convenience store is not, according to Southampton town attorney James Burke, speaking at the hearing last year.

Mr. Burke has said that a 7-Eleven is usually considered a primary use.