Massapequa Park residents raised serious concerns Tuesday about kids gone wild in the vicinity of a proposed Checkers restaurant on Sunrise Highway.
At a hearing about the plan to build the burger joint at 5075 Sunrise Highway, several neighbors told the Oyster Bay Town Board of late night drinking parties and general hooliganism in two parking lots separating the highway from a residential area.
Checkers wants to put up a drive-thru on one of the lots, the former site of a Hess gas station.
“During the summer time, I’m always having trouble with that site,” said Richard Russo, who lives on Bertha Lane behind the proposed Checkers. “I have to deal with these kids who get out of hand and now we’re going to feed these kids?”
Russo said he has made numerous phone calls to the Nassau County Police to remove the rowdy kids from the adjacent property. “All summer I collect beer cans and bottles from my back yard,” Russo said.
Angela Insinga lives next to Russo and told the board she fears increased traffic, garbage and rodents, and additional lights and car noise in the area. She also believes nothing can be done to prevent new fast-food odors added to the old ones.
“There’s no way around it,” Insinga said. “Just because of the air flows south down to the water.,” she said. “We’re just afraid of the overflow of people and the people hanging out.”
The Nassau Burger Corp. has proposed a 1,400 square-foot fast-food restaurant on the site. The new Checkers would be contained in a one-story building with a double drive-thru. Most of the restaurant’s business is done through drive-thru windows.
“In everybody’s mind there’s a difference between a gas station and a fast food operation,” said Supervisor John Venditto. “…It conjures thoughts of parking lots at 2 in the morning.”
Several Checkers representatives told the board that the majority of the traffic coming to the site would be from existing traffic on Sunrise Highway.
They said they expect no major traffic problems in the area and that the company avoids the use of neon signs and only plans four light poles on the property.
The board also heard from traffic expert Harold Lutz, who said the former gas station would have generated 25 percent more traffic than a restaurant on this location. Lutz predicted a minimal impact on traffic in the area. “They are really drawing people who are already on the road,” Lutz said. “There is no significant adverse effect regarding traffic at the site.”
Venditto urged the Checkers’ representatives to work with the neighbors on their concerns. He said the town can make efforts to work with Nassau police to increase patrols in the area.
The board reserved decision on the proposal until a later date.