Jul 29, 2014

Proposed Route 347 Gas Station Raises Traffic Concerns

Smithtown officials question whether another gas station would cause traffic to backup, potential accidents at busy intersection.

Proposed Route 347 Gas Station Raises Traffic Concerns

Proposed plans to build a new gas station along Route 347 intersection have raised traffic concerns among Smithtown officials.

Smithtown Planning Department members voiced their concerns on whether a new 8-pump gas station on the northwest corner of Route 347 and Route 111 intersection could generate traffic or increase the number of accidents on an already busy roadway at Wednesday's Planning Board meeting.

Bolla Operating, a Melville-based group, has requested a change of zone from R-10 residential to neighborhood business on 0.48 acres along the northwest corner of Route. 347 and Route 111. Bolla is looking to demolish the abandoned auto repair garage and a two-story home to build a 8-pump gas station and a 1,200-square-foot convenience store with small offices and a storage area.

David Flynn, a senior planner for the Town of Smithtown, said Smithtown's Planning Department had concerns about the construction of a new gas station on the "heavily traveled and complex designed" intersection.

"We fear ongoing safety concerns with cars entering/exiting the site on conflict with traffic patterns," Flynn said. "If this site is to be developed on Route 347 and Route 111, it would have to prohibit left turns and other turns as well to reduce the potential for traffic congestion and crashes. 

Bolla Operating's proposed plans for a Route 347 gas station will feature two driveways, one each on Route 111 and Route 347. From Route 111, passing motorists would be able to enter the gas station from either direction, but only exit by making a right-hand turn onto Route 111 southbound. The gas station would have a second driveway on the north side of Route 347 which would be right-turn in, right-turn out only.

Charles Olivo, a traffic engineer with Islandia-based Stonefield Engineering and Design, said these limitations in entering or exiting the proposed gas station would work with existing traffic.

"It's my opinion this land use is very well suited for this type of intersection, as the gas fueling station can be supported solely based on right-in, right-out traffic," Olivo said. "There's not many uses that can be supported by only right-in, right-out movements." 

Based on a traffic study dated Dec. 24, 2012, Olivo said the proposed gas station would generate less than 1.5 percent of the total traffic on Route 347 and Route 111 if built.

David Altman, attorney for Bolla Operating, said the corporation should be given the variance necessary to build the gas station as it would benefit Hauppauge, Smithtown and Town of Smithtown.

"Given the location of the site at a major intersection and its visibility, it is arguably a blighted site which is in need of improvement. This would enhance it ... the appearance of the intersection and perception of the motorists and residents of the town itself," Altman said.

Harry Singh, president of Bolla Operating, said the new gas station would create a minimum of four full-time jobs and generate approximately $40,000 - $60,000 a year in tax revenue for the Town of Smithtown. Singh owns and operates more than 70 other gas stations.

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