The Hempstead Town Board held a hearing on Oct. 2 to vote on a proposed new 7-Eleven with an eight-pump gas station in North Bellmore, which would be across the street from an existing, soon-to-be-vacated 7-Eleven.
The board voted to reserve its final decision for a later meeting while representatives of the convenience store chain worked with nearby residents on a plan. William Bonesso, a land use and zoning lawyer representing 7-Eleven, defended the proposal.
The current 7-Eleven sits on the south side of Jerusalem Avenue off George Road. The chain has proposed demolishing the properties directly across the street: the now-defunct Ciminelli Motors, which had six fueling stations and vehicle services, and Custom Millwork Inc., which offered custom cabinetry and carpentry work (with the addresses 2663 and 2675 Jerusalem Ave., respectively). Years-old gas tanks would also be removed from the Ciminelli Motors property.
After the demolition, a new canopy, “state-of-the-art” fiberglass gasoline storage tanks, new entrances and exits, and a new single-story building would be constructed, Bonesso said at the hearing. When completed, the building would be 2,600 square feet — 600 square feet smaller than the existing store.
Currently, the closed properties have five entrances and exits — three on Jerusalem Avenue and two on Bellmore Road. Having only two — one on Jerusalem and one on Bellmore — would improve traffic flow, Bonesso argued. In the proposal, the ramps would be constructed farther from the intersection, “which is certainly something [Nassau] County would like to see, and is typically considered to be good planning,” he said.
“It’s really a relocation of an existing operation,” Bonesso added. “Moving it to this corner places it at a signalized intersection, which makes for better and safer traffic flow both on the local roads and entering and exiting the property.”
George Road, where the 7-Eleven currently exists, does not have a traffic light.
Paul Going, of Atlantic Traffic & Design Engineering, conducted a traffic study on behalf of 7-Eleven. The study observed traffic conditions on a Thursday in June during the morning and afternoon rush hours. “A total of five driveways being reduced to two is a significant improvement and a benefit to the travelling public,” Going said.
Additionally, the chain agreed to install new pedestrian crosswalk signals at the request of the town’s Department of Transportation, Going added.
Bonesso noted that many “larger type” deliveries occur on the street at the existing 7-Eleven, which at times generates parking and traffic congestion. At the new site, however, all deliveries could be made on the property.
Despite reassurances, some residents voiced their concerns. Michelle and Michael Kass’s home is next to the proposed construction zone. “I’ve lived here for 40 years, and I’ve seen a lot of companies come and go,” Michelle said, “but never anything with food . . . I’m concerned about rodents and bugs.”
The property’s dumpster would be enclosed “no matter what,” Bonesso said, adding that it would be surrounded by a small wall.
James Lauri, who owns the two properties next to the proposed site, said he was concerned about noise. As the plan stands now, a fence would surround some sides of the store, but Bonesso said that more improvements could be made so residents’ concerns would be alleviated.
“You have to be a good neighbor,” Councilman Dennis Dunne told the business representative.
The 7-Eleven would be open 24 hours a day. The store would have 10 to 12 employees, with at least two on site at all times, and an attendant would be available to pump gas for customerss in need of assistance, Bonesso added.