Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Glen Head Says No to 7-Eleven

The intersection at Glen Head Road and Glen Cove Avenue, known locally as the Four Corners, may soon change—and not for the better in the view of the Glen Head - Glenwood Civic Council, an organization made up of six civic groups in the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection.

At a meeting with the Civic Council’s board and community residents, George Abi Zeid, a local developer and President of GAZ Realty, confirmed he is in contract to purchase the lot on the southeast corner of the intersection, where, until recently, a Sunoco station operated. Mr. Abi Zeid said his original plan was to refurbish the site and then lease to a tenant who would operate a 7-Eleven convenience store.

“If the deal goes through, this will be the first and only 24-7 operation in Glen Head or Glenwood Landing in living memory,” said George Pombar, President of the Glen Head – Glenwood Civic Council. “It will generate congestion, noise, and security problems that will have a negative impact on both the residential community and local business.”

The lot is presently owned by the Sunoco Corporation. The 7-Eleven company has targeted the site for a retail outlet, even though there are already a 7-Eleven and a Super-7 on Glen Cove Avenue in the City of Glen Cove within a mile of the Four Corners, as well as at least six delicatessens.

The lot is zoned general business under the Oyster Bay town code. “I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the town code does not contain a provision to permit reasonable restrictions on hours of operation in a general business zone,” said Patrice Benneward, President of the Glenwood-Glen Head Civic Association. “It makes me wonder if the code discriminates between quiet neighborhoods like Glen Head and major thoroughfares like Jericho Turnpike,” she said. “If it doesn’t, it certainly should.”

Residents have reacted loudly and passionately to the potential of a around-the-clock operation in Glen Head, circulating petitions that state signers will boycott all 7-Elevens if a 7-Eleven opens at the Four Corners. “We have enough trouble with trash and loitering when businesses close by10 PM. What is it going to be like if we have a 24/7 operation?” asked Glen Head resident John Dussel. “It’s the last thing we need here.”

Mr. Abi Zeid said he does not want to antagonize his neighbors and is prepared to walk away from the deal. “However, since 7-Eleven views the site as highly desirable, it’s likely that other parties interested in operating a 7-Eleven will materialize if Mr. Abi Zeid withdraws.”

Letters to 7-Eleven CEO Joseph DePinto and regional VP Joseph Cozens expressing Glen Head resident concerns have not been answered.