A New Hyde Park Road gas station’s proposal to undergo major renovations has drawn backlash from nearby residents who started an email campaign to halt plans to install several large signs on the property.
Cumberland Farms, at 2201 New Hyde Park Road, has plans to expand a small store there to a 4,650-square-foot convenience store, install two 84-square-foot freestanding signs and canopy signage above the station’s gas pumps. All three alterations would require variances from the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals.
Marianna Wohlgemuth, a nearby resident and the former president of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, started an email campaign calling the signs “totally oversized” in a form letter she sent to the zoning board.
“My concern is with the number of signs and their sizes. There are two proposed free-standing lighted signs which will be 83 square feet each. They are totally oversized for the property and are well over the allowed 24 square feet that is the town code,” the letter said. And “I completely fail to see the necessity for the signage on the canopies, which is not permitted by the town.”
About 20 residents that Wohlgemuth is aware of sent the letter to the board, she said. The board will close the record for written testimony on April 22.
Cumberland Farms’ attorney referred inquiries to a public relations company that did not respond to an email asking for comment.
Outside the signs, Wohlgemuth said, she supports most of the renovations, including plans to eliminate a truck lot, propane sales, the car wash and two gas pumps.
“I think it will be an improvement considering it looks like a dump now,” she said. “I think the building, though large, will be an improvement, and I bless them for wanting to improve the community — because it will be an improvement.”
She did worry, however, that the gas station may decide to reinstall those elements in the future because the zoning board’s decision would not eliminate past variances.
The store plans would quadruple the size of the current store and would also require a variance.
Wohlgemuth said she felt the lot could support the expansion, especially with the removal of other elements on the lot.
“The property is over one acre. It will sustain [the new building], and it won’t look humongous. I think it will look okay,” she said.
But she questioned the necessity of the signs.
“The average person that drives past the convenience store coming and going, it’s the same people every day. It’s not like you’re attracting new people on the throughway,” Wohlgemuth said. “Do you think maybe they may not need both of those signs? I don’t think they need two huge signs.”
The large LED signs would also not fit in with the surrounding community, she said.
“We’re trying to have the semblance of the country in Nassau County,” she said. “We’re not Queens, so it’s just not necessary — it’s not necessary all those sings.”