Friday, August 10, 2007

After Oil Plume, Service Station Owners Seek Change of Use Approval

By KELLY CAMPBELL

The owner of the former Delta Gas Station at the corner of Woodbine Avenue and Fort Salonga Road have submitted a change of use application for the site, closed since January after an oil plume was discovered in Northport Harbor by workers from Britannia Yachting Center.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation determined the plume was likely caused by oil discarded improperly years ago at the Delta Gas Station and required owner Adil Bayat who lists addresses in West Islip and to do what are called tank pressure tests of the gasoline tanks to be sure they weren’t leaking.

After seven months of work, Mr. Bayat is ready to reopen but wants to change the use from a service and gasoline station to a gasoline station convenience store. The Northport Village Planning Board will consider the plan at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, August 7 meeting. The site is in the highway business district so a convenience store is an allowed use.


The new plan calls for a reduction in area of the main building from 1,389 square feet to 1,162 square feet. Planning Board Chair Rich Boziwick surmised that Mr. Bayat would be removing the two service bays to the west of the current office. A new asphalt parking lot is planned and both existing entries/exits, one on to Fort Salonga and the other on Woodbine, will remain. A second curb cut on Fort Salonga, closer to Woodbine Avenue will be eliminated.
The entrance on Woodbine Avenue has been reduced in the site plan to an allowable 28 feet from a current 34 feet but it will remain less than 50 feet from the intersectio and that violates Section 247-5 B of the Village code.
The site plan, as submitted, will require one parking variance. It allows for seven and nine are required according to the Northport Village code.
Mr. Bayat submitted a traffic engineering evaluation from Michael Rubenstsein of Draftec Consultants in Port Jefferson Station. Mr. Rubenstein assessed the potential increase in traffic that might occur based on the addition of the proposed convenience store/gas station as opposed to the gas and service is non existent. He called the traffic of the two uses “almost identical.”
He stated that Woodbine Avenue is a Northport Village roadway with an estimated volume of 1,500 to 1,800 vehicles each day and that 100 vehicles per hour exit Woodbine Avenue during each of the peak morning, afternoon and midday hours. Seventy percent of those turn right to head west on Fort Salonga, also known as State Route 25A. The gas station is to the right.
The question of how safe the intersection is was a topic of discussion at several Village Board meetings in 2006. Trustee Henry Tobin asked Police Chief Ric Bruckenthal to look at accident occurrences at this location as well as several others where Northport roads intersect with Route 25A.
Westbound traffic approaching the intersection is often traveling at a high rate of speed as they are descending a hill. The location is also just after a bend in the road which leads to limited visibility. Traffic control on the road is under the control of the New York State Department of Transportation.
The reported motor vehicle accidents since January 2003 show that the corner could indeed be considered more hazardous than others in the Village.
At Route 25A and Milland Drive, just west of Britannia Yachting Center, there were six accidents. At Jefferson Avenue, just behind Country Hot Bagels, there were 13 reported accidents. At Laurel Avenue, on the north side only near Napper Tandy’s, there were 18 reported accidents. At Main Street near Pumpernickels, there were 11 accidents. At Reservoir Avenue, there were 31 accidents. Trustee Tobin pointed out that is a much busier intersection that also leads to Elwood Road on the south side of Route 25A.
Trustee Tobin said that he and Chief Bruckenthal “agreed that the Village must try to make that corner less dangerous and that a request to the DOT for a flashing light or other solution is reasonable and appropriate.”
The issue has not been discussed in depth since the August 15 meeting. The DOT has a history of declining traffic signal requests. They follow a strict criteria, analyzing information from traffic studies which include traffic patterns and the number of cars along the roads in question.

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