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Controversy Over East Patchogue Wal-Mart Continues in Town Hall Meeting

The controversial plans to build a Wal-Mart on 250 acres of land in East Patchogue may be altered if Town Board considers recission of zoning of that land.

Last Tuesday's Brookhaven Town Hall meeting entailed a crucial meeting to consider the rescission of zoning of land parcels in East Patchogue slated for construction of a Walmart retail outlet.

The meeting was a continuation of a 2009 Town Board meeting in which numerous residents held a heated debate over building a Walmart on the property. The land is located on the northeast corner of the intersection at the Sunrise Highway service road and Hospital Road. The land is currently zoned for a J-2 permit, but the Town would change that designation after being put to a vote by members of the Town Board. 

Several people in attendance at the Town Board meeting held yellow signs which said, "Stop Walmart East Patchogue" along with the website of the protesting group.  Before the public comments section of the meeting began, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko emphasized that the meeting was not about whether or not a Walmart should be built, but about whether or not the zoning of that land should be rescinded.  This means that comments were to be restricted to whether or not the area would be appropriate as a commercial zone.  However, public comment did not typically abide by that rule.  Residents that spoke against the rescinding cited benefits of additional tax revenue and more affordable products that would become more available to residents.  Residents supporting the rescinding voiced numerous concerns including increased traffic on the Hospital Road bridge, the affect Walmart would have on small businesses, and questioned the safety of the neighborhoods surrounding the retailer if the store is constructed. 

"Any box store will stop retail in downtown, coming soon Patchogue has Artspace, local organizations, a new YMCA, and local businesses coming to Main Street.  The businesses want to continue," said Gail Hoag, Executive Director of the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce.

The Town Board was unable to vote on the motion to revoke that particular zoning that night because the rescission plans were pending approval from the county.  However, residents urged the town to press the county for approval so it could be voted upon. 

AW Realty, the owner of the property in East Patchogue, owns the La Bonne Vie apartment complex and the land in question. According to attorney Linda Margolin, who represents AW Realty, the owner is doing a ground lease, in which Walmart has put in a site plan application and AW Realty has already rented the property to Walmart pending approval of the application.

"If the property is resolved, they will build a 98,000 sq ft store," said Margolin. "If not, then they will build a 108,000 store or slightly larger."

AW Realty has had plans to build a retail store on the property for over 35 years, when they initially acquired the property.

"The owner got a 105 acre parcel in 1972 which contained segments zoned for apartments, condos, and the rest for commercial retail," said Margolin. "A small parcel (3 acres) was set up for offices, and that zoning was called A-4. Around 1995-1996, the owner concluded that there was already enough office space and no significant market would happen. They went to the rezoning board to change the 3 acre parcel so it wouldn't be used for retail."

If the area is in fact re-zoned, according to Margolin the Town of Brookhaven would refund the $250,000 to the owner as it was outlined in their contract.  

"When the owner got the rezoning, a condition was that they would pay $250,000 upfront and the rest would be paid when it was approved," said Margolin.

Margolin went on to state that AW Realty feels that "ultimately there are more people that would favor the Wal-Mart than opposed."

John Mucaria June 03, 2010 at 08:44 AM
Give me a break its only the nasty unions opposing the wal-mart on hospital road . I live in Bellport and i am tired to have to travel to middle island, centereach or on vets hwy all the way to the lie. My point is all the wal-marts are on the north shore which is wrong! WE NEED A WAL-MART ON THE SOUTH SHORE AND THE AREA WERE THEY WANT TO PUT IT IS PERFECT BEING ITS RIGHT OFF THE SUNRISE HWY WHICH MEANS IT WILL NOT AFFECT TRAFFIC ANYMORE THAN A HOME DEPOT OR BOBS STORE SO GIVE ME A BREAK A SUPPORT WAL-MART IN EAST PATCHOGUE, THEY PAY TAXES AND CREATE JOBS FOR WIFE'S, DAUGHTERS , SONS,GRANDPA AND GRANDMA!
portly June 05, 2010 at 03:12 PM
First of all, a Walmart will attract tons of freaks and weirdos to the area, which we definitely do not need. There is a huge revitalization of downtown Patchogue that is making the town much nicer. Businesses are growing and the village is becoming a beautiful place for locals to do their shopping. So there's no need to travel to the North Shore to go to a creepy Walmart. Go downtown and do your shopping there. Or go up 112 and shop at Target, which is also inexpensive, and doesn't attract as many freaks and weirdos as Walmart does. Also, if you'd like to express an educated opinion, learn how to use capital letters and punctuation. It goes a long way to get others on your side when you portray yourself as somewhat intelligent.
jared June 07, 2010 at 12:31 AM
in all honesty, most people in patchogue DO NOT want walmart here, esp with the vitalization underway (which is starting to make a noticeable mark on the community and i hope they continue the good progressive thinking work) this simply would hurt the towns efforts. If the people of bellport want walmart so bad, how about build it in your town in the empty outlets? k thanx bye
Orlando June 24, 2010 at 10:55 AM
I definitely don't want a Wal Mart near me. That particular road they plan to build is prone to grid lock and a new Wal Mart would make it worse. Also Wal Mart contributes nothing to the community and does not provide people with jobs that pay a decent wage.
J McDonald June 27, 2010 at 11:47 PM
One doesn't need to tell others how to express themselves.The fact remains that a store of this quality with it' s vast selection of merchandise would be an asset to our area.Your biased opinion of future customers is unfounded. J McDonald
portly June 28, 2010 at 01:01 AM
Have you been to a Walmart lately? Check one out and then tell me that my opinion of future customers is unfounded.
MikeS July 09, 2010 at 08:13 PM
I have lived in the village for 10 yrs now with my family and I have seen allot being done in the village. I see allot of people who do not speak English only Spanish. How do I know that they do not speak English? Well it is when I ask them a question they ignore me or just walk away from me. They would be the main customer for the less quality store that wall mart is. . The Wall mart would have been a good thing if it was placed where it could utilize existing property that is not in use now. The south side of 27 once part of the Bellport outlets would be great. Another would have been the old Home depot had been, future home of another furniture store that will be out in a few years. Mind that wall mart is not the best but the location I think is not the correct one for traffic patterns. They would do fine if they could find a place on say 101.
jared July 14, 2010 at 12:57 AM
J McDonald - walmart would be anything but an asset. Not only hurting union jobs directly in the supermarkets, it would hurt smaller retialers from top to bottom. How do I know? My farthers business closed up shop a few years ago after a nice (well, start off looking nice and went downhill) large, probably 125000 sq ft store opened less than a mile down the road
Kim July 14, 2010 at 01:38 PM
Anyone who is "for" the Wal-Mart construction CERTAINLY has not driven down Hospital Road recently. With the current traffic numbers, it already takes 2-3 light changes to get through the intersection of the South Service road in either direction. God forbid an ambulance needs to get through traffic and over the bridge to get to the hospital. Now imagine triple the traffic congestion once a Walmart is built at that north service road intersection. What will they have to do? Install a NEW bridge? More traffic congestion. Who will end up paying for that new bridge with double lanes? Us. Please, people. Think local when you shop. The "low prices" that you pay at the Walmart stores is usually poor quality merchandise (break easily, clothes that come apart at the seams), that is manufactured in far-away places by people earning pennies for their work. Its a shame, but it is true. In this economy, you can find better "sales" at localized shops with a better quality of merchandise. Support the stores that we already have in business.....and in turn we won't see empty shops. It's just common sense. Thank you.
Mmars September 26, 2010 at 10:11 PM
I can understand concerns about traffic and they are valid. However, after reading the following comments I really feel this needs to be said. Regarding Walmart attracting freaks to the area. When was the last time you drove throught the town of Patchogue??? It is not safe and is full of drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless people and criminals. The freaks are already here and it is only going to get worse. Furthermore when I drive through the town all I see is emptly buildings for rent that are falling apart with signs on the windows. It makes the town look worse. Everyone keeps concentrating on the negative reprocusions, how about the positve? How about all the jobs that will be created and the people that will come off unemployment?How about all the tax reveue that will be collected on the sales and property taxes. Walmart pharmacy offers really good prices on some meds for uninsured people. People who can't drive to the other locations. Lets face it Patchogue has become full of low income housing. Most of which is rented and full of illeagal immingrants not even paying their share of taxes. Low income housing means a need for low income retail. So goes the old saying "find a need and fill it" Walmart is the need and it will thrive in Patchouge. Don't fight it, join it and watch the rewards that will come. We have bigger problems in Patchogue put your effort and voice twards them!!!
John Goode December 13, 2010 at 03:39 PM
It's about time that Long Island has a Walmart Superstore. We moved from Northern Westchester where we had access to three Walmart stores -- one of which was a Superstore in Fishkill, NY (the other stores being in Mohegan Lake and Danbury, CT) -- and I'm tired of paying exorbitant Long Island prices. Not only are Long Islanders over taxed, but they are consistently overcharged by the so-called small businessman. Furthermore, if you need to return something to a small business, you have to jump through hoops and ladders to get a refund. Often, you are forced to accept a store credit instead of a full refund. Walmart has deep pockets and can afford to cater to its customers. Small businesses can't do this. In short, if you have a problem with a product purchased at Walmart, they take it back -- even if they probably shouldn't take it back (i.e., no receipt, no original packing materials, no box, etc.) Try to do that a local small business. Objections to building a Walmart are unreasonable. The only people who should be objecting to Walmart stores are the small businesses that have been overcharging us for years. Build more Walmarts. Lots of 'em. And give us at least one Walmart Superstore on Long Island already.
jared December 13, 2010 at 06:18 PM
the reason why everyone is objected to it is the simple fact that the location is terrible. Of all areas why in the middle of a residential neighborhood? There's about twenty other locations I can think of off hand that would be better than this one. No one is opposed to walmart here, everyone is opposed to their lack of common sense in putting a walmart on a one lane road that has houses on it as well as next to a hospital. Why don't they build where the woods are on the east side of 101 south of sunrise? perfect location, plenty of space
jared December 13, 2010 at 06:19 PM
*west*
Fred Stewart June 09, 2011 at 02:07 PM
walmart is bad for any community... plain, simple, incontravertable. all you have to do is read. http://www.newrules.org/retail/key-studies-walmart-and-bigbox-retail#1
Eileen Klett July 01, 2011 at 04:49 AM
If you want to live in a place where there is a discount store within easy reach, move to Queens. Suffolk residents enjoy the fact that we have less congestion. Why ruin it for the sake of being able to shop for cheap products? We don't want a Bobs or a Home Depot on that property either. It is not an appropriate place for a department or big box store. It is a residential area. Let's keep it that way!!!!!
Dee October 23, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Like they're not there already ? It's freakin' PATCHOGUE ! DBAG CITY !
Dee October 23, 2011 at 08:41 PM
EXACTLY CORRECT ! No matter how many lights and sidewalks there are it's Patchogue ! Homeless , beans and boogs .

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