Tacos OK, But Hold The Noise
Taco Bell is one step closer to breaking ground on a new restaurant at Jericho Turnpike in East Northport.
The Huntington Zoning Board of Appeals Sept. 19 agreed to grant a special use permit to Taco Bell to build a 2,639-square foot restaurant on a 41,650 square-foot lot at 3054 E. Jericho Turnpike, with four conditions attached to address concerns of residents nearby.
Per the ZBA’s requirements, the Irvine, Calif. chain must install four AcoustiBlock all-weather sound panels between the menu speaker board and residential properties on Ellendale Court south of the site and provide at least one cross-access easement to the western property, a Firestone auto shop and possibly one to the eastern lot, the Alpha Omega Collision Center. They will also be required to install a gate to prevent access to a natural buffer area between the restaurant and residential properties, and close the restaurant by 2 a.m. every day.
Proponents of Taco Bell’s application said the plans for the 50-seat restaurant, with 50 parking spaces and a drive-thru, are designed to limit impacts on nearby homes.
Real estate expert John Breslin said a 117-foot natural buffer built into the site plans would “shield the residential community and provide a transition into the commercial use.”
“This site plan has been extremely well developed to protect residential properties,” he said.
Responding to initial objections focused on the intercom system used to order, ZBA Chairman Chris Modelewski directed the company to install AcoustiBlock panels to absorb any noise that might be created, especially during late-night hours.
“If the location is open into the early hours of the morning, it’s conceivable in the summer you might be able to hear someone barking for gorditas at 2 in the morning,” he said.
However, some residents still weren’t sold on the proposal. Concerns lingered over the potential odors, noise, light and security in the natural buffer zone between homes and the restaurant.
Glenn Villari, who lives directly behind the proposed site, expects property values to decrease if the restaurant is built.
“They’ll be out there eating and drinking and whatever they do right behind my house,” he told the board. “It’s definitely going to affect my equity. I don’t know if anybody would buy a house with a Taco Bell directly behind it. I wouldn’t.”
But attorney John Farrell, representing Taco Bell, said the nearest light will be 100 feet away from the residential property.
“We are treating the 6-foot fence at the end of our development [as the property line,” Farrell said.
Concerned residents will again have a say in specific concerns about the restaurant before the town’s Planning Board.
“There’s a whole lot of stuff they have to do before they start cranking out tacos,” Modelewski said.