Oyster Bay will have a 7-Eleven as of October, says Irwin Krasnow, of Syosset, the landlord and owner of property at 26 Pine Hollow Road — Route 106 — where the convenience store is being built. And the store known for its coffee and Slurpees will look a bit different from other 7-Eleven stores. Instead of the traditional flat roof, the new design calls for one that is gabled. The large panes of glass will be smaller, and the sign out front will look as though it is painted wood instead of plastic. Krasnow has even agreed to reduce the height of the sign to 10 feet, consistent with nearby Speedway, instead of the usual height of 20 feet.
Krasnow, has opened other 7-Eleven stores in Freeport, Roosevelt and recently, Hicksville. He said that Oyster Bay’s store will look very different than his others because he has tried to work with the community.
“We took the historicalness into consideration, so we will blend in and not look like a cookie-cutter [7-Eleven],” Krasnow said, adding that the changes have been costly. “We are trying to be a good neighbor and good citizens and trying to make the community happy.”
The outcry against having a 7-Eleven in the hamlet has been consistent on social media since Krasnow, who bought the property in March 2017, said he would build the convenience store on the empty lot next to the Coach Grill. Residents went to local organizations that represent the hamlet to ask for help. And because there were so many complaints representatives from these groups, which include Oyster Bay Main Street Association, Friends of the Bay, Oyster Bay-East Norwich Civic Association, the Railroad Museum and others agreed to meet with Krasnow on Aug. 23, 2017.
“He said he wanted to please the community,” said Richard LaMarca, the president of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Civic Association, adding that the meeting was a long one. “We were all against the 7-Eleven before we got there.”
But, LaMarca said, everyone knew before the meeting began that there was nothing they could do to stop it. The property is zoned for a convenience store and in the unincorporated portion of the hamlet there are no requirements for historical design.
“With no protections in the commercial areas, the town had to approve the plans,” said John Collins, a historical architect and preservation consultant. He came to the meeting bringing along his own design plan. “The 7-Elevens are not designed by architects,” he said. “Engineers design them, and they have a commercial look that isn’t very attractive.”
But other franchises, like McDonalds, have changed their designs to fit in with the character of the community. In Freeport there is a McDonalds in a historic home, Collins reasoned, and one in New Hyde Park also looks very nice. He shared his drawing with Krasnow, but said he never heard back. “At any rate, the horse is out of the stable,” Collins said. “It’s a done deal.”
But it does appear that Krasnow might have decided to use some of what Collins suggested. And at least a few of the people at the meeting suggested that it may have been too expensive for Krasnow to incorporate all of Collin’s suggestions.
One of the complaints is that there is a Speedway on the same side of the street on the other side of the Coach Grill. Krasnow said that although there will be some overlap, 7-Eleven is more of a convenience store. He believes his customers will primarily be commuters on their way to or from work.
LaMarca said the state Department of Transportation will be creating turn lanes to make it easier to enter and exit the 7-Eleven and the roadway will be widened so there is no longer a shoulder.
But he worries about the children that will have to cross traffic-riddled Pine Hollow Road to get one of 7-Eleven’s more popular treats, a Slurpee. LaMarca would like to see a pedestrian crosswalk installed that includes lights. But Route 106 is owned by the state.
State Senator Carl Marcellino asked the state Department of Transportation in a July 30 letter to take a look at the area. He supports the state’s adoption of Complete Streets, policies that require that walking, biking, and not just driving be considered in street design. “Complete Street design features have proven effective in making roadways safer for all users and go a long way in saving lives and preventing injuries,” he said. “I have asked the Department of Transportation to consider these principals when looking at the traffic conditions on this portion of Route 106. The safety of all residents is my biggest concern.”
Another concern is whether the store will live up to the standards that are expected by residents. Rob Brusca, an attorney, who is the vice president of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, said he’s hopeful. “The owner is local and wants to see the 7-Eleven kept up,” he said. “We’ll see. Overwhelmingly when this started we didn’t want it. The group reps did the best we could do.”