The owner of the long-vacant former Smitty True Value lumber yard in Mastic Beach is seeking to turn the 2.2-acre site into a gas station and convenience store.
Last month, the site’s owner, Ghulam Sarwar, filed an application with the Town of Brookhaven for a change of zone from J2 Business to J5 Business, and is requesting special permits for a fueling station and a convenience store on the property, located at 211 Mastic Beach Road.
“It’s very early on in the process,” said Sarwar’s representative Mario Vigliotta, of Colonial Property Consultants in Mastic Beach.
Sarwar said he’s been working with town officials for the past several months on the project’s details, and that he’s gotten interest from national brands such as Exxon, Valero, Cumberland Farms, Citgo and Mobil.
“Everybody is interested,” he said.
A 17,000-square-foot lumber yard warehouse attached to the former Smitty hardware store burned down in April 2017.
The site, between Mastic Beach Road, Quay Avenue and Cypress Drive, is one block over from William Floyd High School. It also is across the street from a 7-Eleven and in the same Mastic Plaza as Manhattan Bagel, Supreme Cuts and Nino’s Pizzeria and Cucina.
There is also a Gulf gas station less than a half mile north on Mastic Beach Road.
A letter, obtained by GreaterMoriches, was sent to residents near the surrounding property addressing the proposal.
A town spokesman said the application is under review by the planning department, which will issue recommendations to the town board. No public hearing date on the matter has been set.
The proposal, while in its in infancy, has gotten mixed reactions from residents.
Several residents have reached out to support the application, Vigilotta and Sarwar said.
But one resident, Carla Gitto, who lives a few doors down on Mastic Beach Road, said she plans to start a petition against it after receiving the notice earlier this month. Gitto moved to Mastic Beach in February 2018 and can see the lot from her front yard.
A gas station and convenience store, she feels, could negatively affect the value of her home, as well as the neighborhood’s quality of life by bringing in more traffic, air pollution and noise. She is also concerned about potential groundwater pollution.
“I know I live by 7-Eleven and they’re open 24 hours. Right. No problem,” Gitto said. “I mean, I hear the people parking in the parking lot with their music in the wee hours. No problem. I chose that. It’s by a school and near a commercial area and I don’t really love that. But my block, where this is going, is the start of residential property.”
Frank Fugarino, president of the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association, said his group would support a national corporation’s investment in a gas station and store, “but not a small no-name development which would not improve the area and community.”
—With Carl Corry