A public hearing Thursday on a proposal to build a 7-Eleven convenience store and a gas station on the Riverside traffic circle was adjourned to March 17 as nearly all the speakers not connected to the application urged the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals to deny it.
The applicant, 9-11 Flanders Road LLC, seeks a ZBA interpretation that the proposed store is a “customary accessory” use to the gas station. A number of sign, area and parking variances are also needed for the project to move forward.
Keith Brown, the attorney for the applicant, said the property has been vacant for more than 10 years and was once a gas station. He said it’s surrounded by two active gas stations that have convenience stores.
The applicant said the proposal won’t draw additional traffic to the area.
Mr. Brown also cited a number of Southampton ZBA decisions where convenience stores were deemed accessory to gas stations.
He said that gross receipts for the store and the gas stations in those cases showed the gasoline was a much larger percent of the sales.
Mr. Brown said the applicant has waited 10 years for a sewer connection in Riverside that still hasn’t happened to further growth in the area.
Speakers who opposed the project said it would run counter to the goals of the town’s Riverside Redevelopment Action Plan, which allows 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.
Vince Taldone, a member of the board of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, said that community members went door-to-door to find out what the community wanted.
“Nobody wanted a 7-Eleven and a gas station,” he said.
Gayle Baldwin of Riverside said there are five 7-Elevens within a three-mile radius and six gas stations within a one-mile radius in Riverhead.
The hearing is being adjourned until March 17 in order to coordinate the review of the application in accordance with the State Environmental Review Act.
Representatives from FRNCA, the Bayview Pines Civic and Taxpayers Association and residents of nearby Riverwoods community spoke in opposition to the proposal.
The hearing was held virtually.