Residents push back on proposed 7-Eleven
Residents of Medford are speaking out against a proposal to construct a 7-Eleven convenience store on the corner of Route 112 and Jamaica Avenue. This would be the third 7-Eleven in Medford, as two others are just north on either side of the Long Island Expressway on Route 112, and another is in North Patchogue off of Woodside Avenue, also on Route 112.
“The civic still feels that this is an inappropriate location for a 7-Eleven,” said Brett Houdek, president of the Medford Taxpayers and Civic Association, in a Dec. 31, 2018 letter to the town planning board, referencing an earlier letter with similar concerns.
The civic is also concerned that the location is across from Sean Dixon Memorial Park. Houdek wrote that the traffic would be of concern to families using the park, as well as the possibility of refuse and people loitering. A traffic study dated Aug. 14, 2018 deemed the proposal would not have a significant impact on traffic due to the provisions in the site plan. The applicant plans to restrict tractor-trailers from accessing the store and there would be “effective access to and from the subject property,” the analysis said. But Houdek, in his letter, was concerned with vehicles that would be entering and exiting onto Jamaica Avenue, which would then cause traffic delays on that road and Route 112.
Residents are also concerned that the business would make the area too saturated with convenience markets. 24/7 Convenience, a store that opened in 2011 and sits at 2222 Route 112, claims that the 7-Eleven could be detrimental to their business. A letter submitted by the owners of that property, FMFM Realty Inc., said that the business could close and it would be difficult to find another tenant, and there is unfair competition due to 7-Eleven’s corporate structure, which allows a safety net for losses. The property is less than one block away from the proposed 7-Eleven.
“There are multiple convenience stores in the immediate area of the proposed location, and the addition of a 7-Eleven, a corporate entity that is able to subsidize losses, would kill the local businesses,” the letter read.
The planning board has prepared requirements that would be attached to the application, including the restriction of tractor-trailers, the prohibition of outdoor sales or displays, and the prohibition of neon lights in the windows. There also must be waste receptacles on site and would be maintained by the owners. The site would be just under 3,000 square feet. It sits next to an auto repair shop on one side, and is surrounded by homes on all others.
The public hearing on Jan. 7 addressed these issues, with over 80 minutes of testimony by the public, almost universally against the proposition.
“We just don’t need it,” said resident Maria Mayer at the public hearing on Jan. 7. “I know it’s a commercial property, but I think you can find a better use for it.”
An owner of a local convenience store also spoke at the meeting, who said he collected over 150 signatures from customers saying the 7-Eleven would be detrimental to his small business.
“If this 7-Eleven gets built over there, it’s going to kill my business,” he said. “And I guess that’s what they want, just kill all the local businesses.”
But planning board chairman Vincent Pascale said the board doesn’t take the owner into consideration, merely the merits by which their application warrants a use in the community. The board closed the public hearing with 10 days of public comments before making a decision.
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