Zone change for Starbucks drive-thru approved

Town votes 4-1 in favor of drive-thru

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During a zone changing meeting at the Town of Islip, Town Hall East, a 4-1 vote passed the request of Starbucks, represented by Steve Bertolino, the Bay Shore developer J. Nazzarro Partnership, for a change of zone from B1, which only permits pharmacies or banks to operate drive-through services, to B3, which permits a drive through for a fast-food restaurant, in order for a drive-through to be included in the final plan.

The Starbucks site, on Montauk Highway in West Sayville where the former Chase Bank is located, has been controversial with local residents and community groups.

The Sayville School District even issued a statement against the zone change as a possible danger for students commuting to nearby schools in the area.

The site on 90 Montauk Highway is in close proximity to West Sayville Fire Department, a CVS drive-through pharmacy, Sayville High School, a public bus route, and the Greene House, which contains many small businesses.

Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce president Eileen Tyznar has led the fight against the zone change, as she has in other zone change applications in the community.

Originally on the agenda as item #6, opponents of the zone change were perplexed when the item was called first in the meeting while many of the opponents of the zone change were outside the meeting room and no video of the meeting was available in the hallway.

“In order to stay within COVID guidelines in the Town Board Room, the Town Attorney made the announcement at the beginning of the meeting that the item would be first out of an abundance of caution,” said a spokesperson from the Town of Islip.

With over 2,000 signatures on a Change.org petition called “West Sayville/Sayville Petition Against Fast Food Business Re-Zoning,” Tyznar felt she had the strong support of the community against the zone change.

At Thursday’s meeting, the planning board stated that the town reviewed the potential traffic impact of the drive-through and that the results “satisfied both the town’s traffic consultant and Suffolk County.”

Residents were concerned of vehicles making unsafe left turns at the site and the town said that a new turning lane in front of the building would address this issue.

The application, first proposed at a June 24, 2020 board meeting, included a special permit for a fast-food restaurant, a special permit for outside seating, and a buffer relaxation.

In a planning board meeting in January 2021, Andrew Villari, project manager with Stonefield Engineering & Design, said a traffic impact study was prepared in summer 2020 and submitted to Islip Town.

Senior planner Sean Colgan said in the January meeting last year that the review indicated that there would be “significantly more vehicles” entering and exiting the site during peak hours. In addition, he said, a bus shelter is recommended for the existing Suffolk County transit stop, located near the site.

According to the traffic study, the proposed project would generate 227 trips during the weekday A.M. peak hour, 250 during the weekday midday peak hour, and 224 trips during the P.M. peak hour. A “trip” is defined as the total vehicles entering and exiting the site, Villari said.

Tyznar said she planned on filing an appeal of the decision and said, “The residential group as well as the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce is immediately exploring all options of the appeals process. We feel this project is an extreme danger to our community.”

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