Board votes to remove controversial driveway at 7-Eleven under construction in Island Park

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After nearly a dozen residents showed up to the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals meeting last month to protest a controversial driveway at a 7-Eleven under construction in Island Park, the board announced on Feb. 7 that it has ordered the curb cut to be removed.

On Jan. 30, the board listened to several residents’ comments about the driveway at the new 7-Eleven, being built at 4535 Austin Blvd. The curb cut would have directed cars onto California Place South, a road that is already burdened by heavy traffic. In addition, the driveway would have caused an increase in traffic coming from California Place South onto Austin Boulevard, because one of the driveways of Starbucks, at 4507 Austin Blvd., would have been directly across from the 7-Eleven driveway.

“When I heard the concern of neighbors related to this project, I was glad to be able to guide them and explain the course of action they could take,” Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said. “I am happy that the board of zoning listened to the residents’ safety concerns and determined that the curb cut on California Place must be removed.”

Officials and attorneys representing Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead attended the Jan. 30 meeting. Though California Place South is a town road, the county approved plans for the 7-Eleven because Austin Boulevard is a county road. Legislator Denise Ford also appeared at the meeting to voice her support of the cause against the driveway, citing county traffic engineers who told her that their research suggested it was a bad plan.

The 7-Eleven is being built on an area that has been vacant for more than 15 years. The facility has a driveway that spills out onto Austin Boulevard that will be used instead of the planned curb cut at California Place South.

Town spokesman Michael Fricchione said that a stop work order was issued on the site on Dec. 17 amid backlash from residents about the driveway. It was lifted after the board reached its decision to remove the curb cut.