Blue and yellow signs clashed at the Brookhaven Town Planning Board meeting Monday night as concerned residents displayed support and opposition to the
Attorneys from Barry S. Porter & Associates presented alternatives to the construction plan, the options ranging from different square footages for the building or avoiding construction altogether.
John Harter, of Atlantic Traffic & Design Engineers, said traffic flow will not be harmed and extensive road renovations wouldn’t be necessary.
“The bridge widening is not mandatory,” Harter said. “The DEIS  report says there will be minimal traffic influence, and traffic during peak hour would not be affected.”
The proposal to bring Walmart to the open land on Hospital Road and North Service Road was initially brought to the Board in 2008. The Board received the DEIS report on Nov. 21, 2011 after rescinding the first draft.
Mixed feelings in the crowd were evident as Chairman Vincent Pascale frequently banged the gavel for order. Among them was Sylvia Harris of Pinewood Apartments, who gathered a petition of 2,250 people who are pro-Walmart.
“They have Walmart everywhere else [besides] Suffolk, and some of us senior citizens can’t make it there,” Harris said. “What’s wrong with building it there? If you’re talking about the traffic, it’s bad everywhere. If I had the money, I’d build it myself.”
Pascale read a letter from Mayor Paul Pontieri that announced the Patchogue Village Board of Trustees opposition toward Walmart.
“Patchogue has felt the negative impact of big box stores, and many of our retail stores are struggling through a downward economy- the last thing we need is another big box store,” the letter read.
Preserving wildlife and the green space was also a concern for many, including Mary Ann Johnston of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization Inc.
“We have a commitment to maintain open space, and I’d like to see [the Board] keep it,” Johnston said. “We want to convert our blighted properties into lighted properties- I’ve never heard an explanation to why Walmart wants this site.”
The next Board meeting will be held on January 23.