Concerns about proposed Dunkin Donuts
WEST ISLIP—A group of West Islip neighbors gathered at the latest Islip Town Planning Board meeting to speak out against a proposed Dunkin’ Donuts on the northeast corner of Montauk Highway and Oak Neck Road (#945), approximately 800 feet east of Robert Moses Causeway and 240 feet west of Pine Lake. Ultimately, the board voted to reserve decision to further evaluate the details and testimony brought forth and evaluate the impact on the surrounding area.
The applicant – FOAN Inc. – is requesting a special permit for a minor restaurant in the Business 1 District, along with site plan modifications. The applicant is proposing to relocate the existing delicatessen within the building to another storefront, and locate a Dunkin’ Donuts in its place.
Residents in attendance cited a range of concerns, including impacts on traffic, safety, quality of life, and code enforcement issues – including the potential for the lot to become a hangout spot for illegal activity.
“There are absolutely no fast-food chains in the entire township of West Islip,” said one resident. “To me, to change it now would be crazy.”
Resident Victoria Richard specifically cited traffic as her main issue.
“Coming out of Oak Neck Road – whether you make a right or a left – is a disaster,” said Richard. “There are always accidents there…I feel that the traffic is going to be overloaded in these areas. It’s difficult now. I can’t imagine having a Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Another neighbor living on Oak Neck Road stated that needles and garbage have been found around the nearby one-story shopping center, which also houses a pizzeria. She also cited parking and traffic as a problem.
“I can’t imagine the kind of traffic a Dunkin’ Donuts is going to bring,” she said. “I know that it’s a scary corner for some people, but I think the added traffic [from a Dunkin’ Donuts] is going to bring eventually a light to that corner. [That] means for me, that the people at the light are going to back up in front of my house, and I’m not interested in that.”
In response, a representative of the applicant stated that the issues brought up by residents would not have the same impact they predict.
“We’re not bringing additional traffic down the road to the site,” he said. “My position is that there will not be additional parking here. We really believe that it will be a benefit for the community, and I think once we’re open and operating, I think the community will feel the same as well.
“And we want to do whatever we have to do to improve that property,” he added. “The property is run-down right now. It has 40-50 percent vacancy, the building is old, the lot is falling apart, [and] there are a lot of problems that we’re going to remediate. It’s going to be pretty much a brand new building [and property]…and I think everyone is going to be really happy.”
During the official planning staff report, it was noted that the site does not meet the required parking and buffer requirements.
“The site is deficient in overall front yard landscaping and currently does not provide the required buffers adjacent to dwellings in the northeast and northwest,” read the report. “Planning recommends that the board reserve decision for the applicant to address transportation issues, buffers, and landscaping.”
The next Islip Town Planning Board meeting will take place in the Islip Town Hall Boardroom on Thursday, May 18 at 6:30 p.m.
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