The owners of the Citgo property on the corner of Factory Avenue and Route 25 in Mattituck got their wish for permission to put a 7-Eleven on the site just in time for Christmas.
The project met with widespread public disdain when it was first proposed by property owners GAZ Realty nearly two years ago.
The proposal was unanimously approved by the town Planning Board on Dec. 13. One of the project’s most vocal opponents, Democratic Party chairman Art Tillman, promised that the board’s action would not be forgotten.
“This Republican elevation of the property rights of one above community concerns will not be ignored in the next local election,” he said in a letter to the editor of The Suffolk Times this December.
Mattituck residents, shop owners and opponents of chain stores launched a petition campaign against the project early in 2009. The original proposal for a 750-square-foot expansion of the existing former Citgo building was denied by Southold’s Zoning Board of Appeals in March 2009.
The property owners scaled back the expansion to 685 square feet, but residents still fought the project. In protests in front of the site last fall and at a public hearing before the Southold Town Planning Board this past spring, they voiced their opposition.
The Planning Board’s vote to approve the project in December was unananimous.
The town is prohibited by state law from discriminating against the owners of chain stores, board members have noted. They also were swayed by the owners’ plans to help ease traffic congestion at the busy intersection by eliminating an entrance to the property that is close to the traffic light at the corner of Route 25 and Factory Avenue.