Jul 29, 2014
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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 Call Town Board to Take Action in Sonic Battle Nesconset Residents Call Town Board to Take Action in Sonic Battle

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. 

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