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Nesconset Residents Call Town Board to Take Action in Sonic Battle

Smithtown Town Board asked to define what curbside dining is, as locals hope it's the lynchpin to denying Sonic's application for a Nesconset location.

Nesconset residents are demanding action from Smithtown Town officials in a renewed pledge to fight Sonic's application to open a restaurant off Alexander Avenue. 

"We saw what Sonic did to North Babylon, we saw what it looked like and it doesn't belong in a residential area or near a residential street," said Susan Fink, an Alexander Avenue homeowner. 

Fink started up a petition for Nesconset residents asking Smithtown's elected officials not to grant Sonic the variances and exemptions it needs to build a. 

She presented a copy containing 346 signatures from Nesconset residents to Smithtown Town Board at their Tuesday afternoon meeting. 

Fink was joined by Joan Forneiro, a Nesconset resident of Alexander Avenue, in highlighting the community's concerns about the proposed Sonic. 

"There will be a dramatic increase of noise and pollution, inaccessibility of entering and exiting our own driveway or leaving our streets, an increase challenge for family visits, mailman, sanitation, repair men, landscapers and delivery," Forneiro said. "How are they going to do that without queuing, it's a narrow little street." 

Other concerns mentioned included environmental impact of building on the vacant land leading to potential stormwater runoff and flood of local yards. 

In efforts to prevent Sonic's building proposal from being approved, Fink pointed Town Board members to the section 322-11 of the town code which states:

No building, structure, lot or land in any district in the Town of Smithtown shall be used for any of the following uses, except as provided in Article XI... curb-service restaurant.

Valley Stream-based Serota Smithtown LLC has requested a special exception permit to build the proposed Sonic, . 

There's just one problem. There's no definition of a curb-service restaurant in the town code, according to Planning Director Frank DeRubeis. 

"I would like town to define what curbside dining is, we are not allowed to have it, but there’s no definition of what it was. Sonic is saying it's not curbside," Fink said. "Outdoor dining is their brand, it's their ID, what they are known for. Indoor seating is just so someone will grant them permission."

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said that since the public hearing on the proposed Sonic was closed June 26, the decision whether to approve their application is solely with the Board of Zoning Appeals.

However, Vecchio said the Town Attorney John Zollo could advise town board members on whether or not they would be legally allowed to make a definition of what a curb-side restaurant is at this time. 

"If you tend to agree with community this would be disastrous for all of us, could you define what curb-side dining is and hopefully it will exclude Sonic," Fink said. 

Smithtown's Planning Department confirmed it has received the SEQRA and environmental review it has been waiting on to make a decision on the proposed Sonic restaurant, allowing the Board of Zoning Appeals to make a decision any day now. 

Nesconset Dude August 15, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Well said.
Candyee August 17, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Robloz, right again !
Denise August 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Back when I was a kid, Alexander Ave was the first residential street which bordered the property that was our Drive- In . It stood there until the mid 80's. We were heartbroken to see that go, and the replacement was the Condo/housing community several years later. Where Pep Boys stands now, was a small Greasy Spoon Diner, those 4 corners were very rural, just woods and mowed grass. The abandoned looking, vacant Broadway Electronics shopping center across the street seems like a better location idea, just looking at it from the eye... TOS should require a very large parcel for something like that. Sonic regularly talks to patrons/servers on speakers outside, which I am sure would be heard by neighboring residents too. It is true, the property and adjacent street would need to have lots of room to accommodate the long line of cars. We have so much traffic as it is...After 40 years, it is finally a pleasure to drive with the improved road, new traffic signals, and added lane and not have a lump in your throat driving through that section, Jericho would be a mess on that corner, so close to 347.. While Sonic offers an Old Fashioned car side dining experience, it should fit into a location that would be beneficial to the nearby residents, community at large, and not become an "inconvenient neighbor". I hope TOS listens.
Nesconset Dude August 18, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Smithtown has no plan because it allows the town board to make things up as they go along. That way, they can maintain their "friends and family" plan and make sure their coffers have a constant stream of income. Funny how Vecchio treats the town surplus like it belong to him. Smart development and fix our roads and sidewalks first, this should be top priority, vs. ripping down every last plot of open space jsut for the tax dollars. Notice all this crap is constantly being dumped in Nesconset? Sonic, garden apartments, more 7-11's, and now another bank.
new guy August 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM
the town board only has control of the use of a property. they can not say we dont want sonic but Mc Donalds would be o.k. if the property is zoned for the use that sonic is then theres really nothing that can be done about it. i really dont have a opinion on this, other than to say if you buy a house next to commercial property you should be prepared to one day not being so happy with whats going on with that property. my house is in the middle of a nieghborhood so i wont deal with something like this. i will tell you that if was thinking of buying a house next to an empty lot or backed up to a commercial property i would no doubt research that property and find out what can aor cant go on that property, even find out who owns it and what other propertys they own. a little homework goes a long way.

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