Floral Park officials will continue reviewing a bid for a Taco Bell to open at an empty lot on Jericho Turnpike, Mayor Dominick Longobardi said Tuesday following a public hearing.

Several residents said they opposed opening the fast-food franchise in the village, claiming it would cause traffic issues and take business away from local shops.

The board adjourned the hearing and reserved decision.

Applicant Rajan Patiwana is seeking to open the franchise at 90 Jericho Turnpike, the site of a former auto repair shop.

The building would be 2,209 square feet and seat about 40 people. There will also be a drive-thru window, which was already approved by the village Board of Zoning Appeals, according to David Leno, the applicant’s attorney.

The Taco Bell would open at 10 a.m. every day; on weekends it would close at 2 a.m. and weekdays at 1 a.m., Patiwana said.

Traffic engineer Frank Filiciotto, with Stonefield Engineering and Design, said the Taco Bell would not cause a significant increase in traffic.

About half the traffic to fast-food restaurants typically comes from cars already on the road, Filiciotto said.

Most people will stop as they pass by the Taco Bell, and not necessarily drive to it, he said.

The applicant is proposing to create three curb cuts, one for the typical entrance and exit and the other two for the drive-thru entrance and exit. Cars would enter and exit turning right only.

There is a median in the street limiting cars from cutting across.

Peter Camp, a village resident, said the Taco Bell in New Hyde Park often has long lines of cars.

Filiciotto noted that the New Hyde Park location only has four spaces between the ordering window and pick-up window, whereas the proposed Floral Park location has six spaces between the windows – which he said is the industry standard.

Camp asked the board if it has considered if the impact the Taco Bell may have on local businesses.

Village Attorney John Ryan said the village legally cannot deny a business its right to open based on how it may impact other businesses.

Trustee Lynn Pombonyo said she was concerned the Taco Bell may cause excess garbage in the area.

Patiwana said garbage will be picked up between four and six days a week and the grounds are maintained by staff throughout the day.

Franchises are subject to regular inspections by Taco Bell to help ensure a clean premise, Patiwana added.

Other residents opposed the Taco Bell, saying there are enough fast-food restaurants in the village. Residents noted the recent additions of 7-Eleven and Wendy’s.

“I just think it’s a disgrace,” one woman said. “It’s changing, it’s changing and not in a good way.”

In a community Facebook group, Susan Kaye said “just what the area needs, another fast-food place.”

John Cardone commented on Facebook “Floral Park City.”

James A. Bilello said on Facebook, “Better than what’s there. Yum!”

Bilello’s point is similar to one made by Leno, the applicant’s attorney.

Leno said that the Taco Bell will improve and beautify the area, as opposed to the empty lot currently there.

Leno also noted that the lot is in a commercial area and does not border residential roads.

Reach reporter Rebecca Klar by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 204, or follow her on Twitter @rebeccaklar_.

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