Residents who live behind on Route 347 and fought against there can breath easier now that Brookhaven Town has decided not to grant the company a change of zoning or a special permit to build on the property. of the fast food restaurant, citing concerns about increased traffic and pollution.
The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association announced the move by the Town on its website and it was confirmed by civic member Laurie Green in an email on Monday.
Brookhaven Town Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld said that community input did have some influence in planning analysis along with recommendations in the previous Hamlet study developed by the civic association (PDF). The change in zoning type proved to be the real deal breaker. The business also required a special permit for the use of a drive through window.
He said that the Town Board has the ultimate authority on these decisions and elected not to consider the change at the work session meeting on Thursday.
As Fiore-Rosenfeld explained, changing the zoning from an auto dealership that closes in the evening and is not open all weekend to a 24-hour business running seven days a week, which is what the developers of Burger King wanted, was going to be much more of a nuisance to the community.
“I was pleased the board went along with it,” said Fiore-Rosenfeld.
An attorney representing the fast food company had not yet returned a call at the time this article was published.
Cindy Hartnagel who lives behind the property at 4869 Nesconset Highway and was a vocal opponent of the project said by phone on Monday that she was excited and surprised when she heard the news.
“I was shocked to hear when it was done that they weren’t going to proceed with it.” she said.
Hartnagel said that the process allowed her to see firsthand the power of a community coming together to voice its opinion. She was so impressed that she vowed to become a member of the civic association.
“We’re going to be active now,” she said of herself and her neighbors who joined her in the fight.