To Replace the Dead Gas Station and Strip Mall!
This property lies at the heart of Middle Island, our community crossroads, where Rts 25 and 21 intersect. Many of you know it’s been vacant and blighted for far too long. So we’re happy to see a viable plan moving forward for this corner. To be honest, we’d rather it was Starbucks/Gelato Bar/ Hydrogen refueling station, but it’s not. And that’s okay. Hamlets generally need a McDonalds and a 7Eleven before other brands take notice. In the interest of full disclosure, I LOVE 7Eleven coffee and so do lots of other people. The new residents of Renaissance Village are excited about this project, too.
I want to emphasize for those unfamiliar with the site plan that both the dead gas station AND the vacant strip mall will be coming down, to be replaced by a single building and gas pumps. The site plan underwent several iterations which MICA reviewed, including the current one which was approved by the Pine Barrens Commission this summer. Thank you, Supervisor Romaine, for your role in that. We also like the country feel of this type of 7Eleven; Councilman Panico, I know you were instrumental in the design of the Moriches 7Eleven that this one is modeled on, so thank you for that.
This combination convenience store/ gas station is really a resurrection of past uses. I’ve brought along a photo of Pfeiffer’s General Store, which stood at that corner for more than a century. Not only are the old hitching posts still visible, but so are some gas pumps right alongside them.
There are inevitable concerns about traffic, litter, crime which the civic shares with our neighbors and has shared with the developer. We will continue to work on these well after the site is open for business. We also hope to have some of the Pfeiffer’s photos incorporated into the signage on the corner. This would be a great counter balance to the lovely signage diagonally across from the site on the Longwood Library corner. Mr. Nelin has expressed a willingness to do this and we will take him up on that!
I’d be happy to answer any concerns that neighbors have, and hope that the board will approve tonight the requested COZ, special permits and waivers needed to move this proposal forward. In doing so, you will breathe some life into the heart of Middle Island.”
Thank you, Gail Lynch-Bailey, MICA President