New Southold gas station faces more delays before breaking ground

More than a year after the town Zoning Board of Appeals granted approval for a gas station at the corner of Route 48 and Youngs Avenue in Southold, the project is facing an additional setback from Suffolk County.

Groundbreaking on the gas station, which will include 12 pumps and a convenience store, is pending while the applicant and the Planning Board works out an issue raised by the county Department of Public Works.

According to town planning director Heather Lanza, DPW officials want to restrict the driveway access along Route 48 to an entrance only and to reduce its width from 30 feet to 15 feet.

“They’re holding up them being able to get their building permit,” Ms. Lanza explained at a Planning Board work session Monday.

As approved, the project would not have allowed drivers to exit westbound onto Route 48. 

Charles Cuddy, an attorney for the applicants, said Monday that the reduction in the driveway width would make it “virtually impossible” for fuel and delivery trucks to safely enter the property. “We’ve asked them to reconsider,” he said, adding that they’ve already agreed to restrict exit from the site to Youngs Avenue only.

Planning Board chair Don Wilcenski said he supports a wider entrance. “Driving a large truck for many years, 30 feet is not a big area to be bringing any kind of [large trucks] into a somewhat condensed area,” he said. “If you have a large truck that’s on [Route] 48 trying to make a turn into a 15-foot-wide egress, they’re going to end up halfway out in the road and it could cause some major safety concerns,” he said.

Board member Mary Eisenstein agreed and said she’d be concerned about trucks traveling from the Main Road up Youngs Avenue to avoid the narrow turn.

Mr. Wilcenski said he’d organize a meeting with planning staff and county DPW officials to discuss the issue. 

“It’s the only thing stopping us from getting the building permit,” Mr. Cuddy said.

One of several conditions imposed by the ZBA upon their April 2019 approval of the project was a ruling that construction must be completed within two years of their decision. It’s unclear if the applicants will need to seek an extension of that approval.

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