Despite the fact that one Bayport resident described his employer’s proposal to build a food mart/gas station an “abomination” for the community, QuickChek Real Estate Manager Sean O’Neill doesn’t expect to trouble getting Islip Town approval for a proposed 6,500-square-foot food store and eight-bay gas station operation.
“I don’t expect to have any issues getting it [town approval],” he told Patch in an interview following a presentation on the project at the Bayport Civic Association meeting Tuesday night.
“We came here [to the civic meeting] to do the right thing, to
educate the community. I don’t see any issues with the town,” he said.
But then again O’Neill may not have been aware that the civic group is officially not supporting the project slated for the corner of Snedecor Avenue and Montauk Highway in Bayport.
Civic President Bob Draffin told Patch that his group’s response to the proposal, given an unofficial tally of support vs. protest votes as the meeting concluded, indicates the community does not want the store built.
"Given all the concerns voiced here by the residents tonight and the fact that only two people in a room of 100 were in favor of this, the Bayport Civic cannot endorse this proposal moving forward,” he told Patch after the meeting.
“My hope is that QuickChek listens to the voices of the community,” he said.
O’Neill’s confidence may also be tied to the fact that QuickChek has already gotten the green light to build a store in Lake Grove on Jericho Turnpike, and has a pending application before the Islip planning board for a site in Brentwood.
QuickChek is a family-owned company founded in 1967 that runs more than 130 stores throughout New Jersey and southern New York, and employs more than 3,500 workers.
It’s rare, said O’Neill, that communities are against a QuickChek project.
“We haven’t had any protest in our Nassau efforts, though there are few civics there,” O’Neill noted.
“QuickChek is unique. It’s not a gas station,” said the Patchogue native who now lives in Moriches and has worked for QuickChek for about a year and a half scouting out Long Island store locations.
“The culture of our company is that we offer a one-stop shop. It’s not a franchise and it’s family run,” he said during a project presentation at Tuesday night’s civic meeting.
O’Neill said his job is to find communities where QuickChek is a good fit and that there is “nothing like us on Long Island.”
Providing insight on the QuickChek corporate philosophy and culture was a big part of the presentation at the civic meeting Tuesday night, with various representatives noting that the eight-bay gas aspect is an “accessory service,” to the fresh food mart store.
“It’s a true market place and it’s all about convenience,” said Keith Brown, a Long Island lawyer representing QuickChek on the proposal. “It’s easy to be cynical and question change.”
In response to concerns about the impact on local businesses, Brown stated “competition is a good thing that can drive down prices and who doesn’t want a lower gas price.”
As one resident noted during the question and answer segment, QuickChek is asking for seven modifications regarding town zoning and traffic safety requirements on the project.
The company needs two special permits, one for the store and one for the gas station, approval to erect bigger and taller signs than allowed by code, as well as reduced set back stipulations and a reduction in parking as the town requires 66 spots for such a project and QuickChek has included parking for 56 cars.
When asked about the possibility of reducing the store’s footprint, the QuickChek representatives stated a smaller store was not possible.
“The size is the essence to accommodate the demand of giving customers the convenience,” said a rep, nothing “the size works and works well.”
According to its website, proposed locations for a QuickChek gas station/store require at least two acres, traffic of 25,000 cars daily, a corner property with signal intersection, room for a 5,400 to 7,000 square foot building and at least 40-car parking capacity as well as 24-hour operation use.
O’Neill told the 70-plus attendees at the meeting that QuickChek has identified 30 to 50 sites between Nassau and Suffolk and that he believes the Bayport location is a good fit.
“I love this community and think it would be great for this community.”