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Feb 11, 2014 2:44 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

7-Eleven Gets Building Permit For Amagansett Location; Community Is Not Enthused

Feb 11, 2014 3:50 PM

Some residents are concerned about a planned 7-Eleven store located near the IGA in Amagansett.

A building permit was issued last week to Richard Principi, the owner of the former Villa Prince Ristorante on Montauk Highway, to make interior alterations to his building, which includes specifications for a 7-Eleven.

Like an echo from 2010, when 7-Eleven arrived in Montauk, there are fears that Amagansett may also gain a 24-hour, glowing formula store.

Talk about what could be done to stop the invasion of chain stores in East Hampton Town has once again surfaced, since no site plan review was necessary for the convenience store. This week, Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said she is revisiting legislation she pitched in 2012 that would prohibit such stores from popping up in or around historic districts.

Some Amagansett residents say they were shocked to find out the building permit had slipped through. Others said they are convinced the convenience store will cause hardship for local shops like Cirillo’s IGA or Brent’s General Store.

According to Tom Preiato, the town’s building inspector, a building permit was issued on January 30 to permit Mr. Principi to alter the inside to create retail space.

Although Mr. Principi didn’t return several phone calls seeking information, the site plan mentions a 7-Eleven construction manager and 7-Eleven lighting fixtures.

Mr. Preiato said it sure looks like a 7-Eleven, and that no site plan review was needed before issuing the permit.

“The building is basically going from a 116-seat restaurant ... business, to a store that probably has an occupancy of 30—that’s a decrease,” he said. “No further site plan review is needed unless something else like subdivision issues come up that I’m not aware of. Right now we’re working on making sure everything is fine.”

He added that the town does not have any anti-franchise laws or a code that restricts hours of operation.

Ms. Overby said that while the idea is not to get rid of 7-Eleven, she hopes to advance her legislation to make it harder for stores like this one to move into a historic area.

When she pushed for the new code back in 2012, two years after Montauk gained its own 7-Eleven, she said that board was not enthusiastic about it. She said she hopes to present the legislation again in March.

“I’m anxious to have public comment on this,” she said. “For me, it’s about local businesses being able to stay within the community. When national chains come in, the risk of freezing out local business starts to escalate.”

She said the legislation, to be constitutional, has to be about the character of the community and upholding the town’s Comprehensive Plan.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. had been working on similar legislation. In 2012, he introduced a law that would give the go-ahead for municipalities to adopt formula store legislation.

He said on Thursday that municipalities are often uncertain about whether they have the power to regulate formula stores in their towns, since some courts have upheld such regulations and some have struck them down. That uncertainty has resulted in towns being unwilling to enact such regulations, he added.

The bill is currently in the Local Governments Committee of each house in the State Legislature.

Until something is done, Amagansett residents like Rona Klopman will continue to champion for her hamlet.

“I’m just livid nothing was done,” she said this week, adding that a traffic study, at least, should have been done. “You have events that happen at 555 Montauk Highway, like the Wounded Warrior event that brings thousands of people. The traffic from Montauk is one road in and one road out.”

She added that the 7-Eleven will hurt small businesses like Cirillo’s IGA and Brent’s General Store.

“All of these people are going to be affected by a franchise business that you can’t compete with, and the money from this community will go out of the area,” she continued. “I’m pro-business. If the money stays here, there’s no problem.”

But Art Seekamp, who owns Brent’s General Store on the western edge of Amagansett’s downtown, said 7-Eleven’s business can’t compare to Brent’s.

“We’ve been here 26 years and we’re not going anywhere. Personally, I don’t see [7-Eleven] belonging in town,” he said. “We’ve got a different operation here—we’ve got a deli and cooked food.”

Brent’s store manager, Dave Winthrop, said the staff isn’t happy about the news, but that it’s not the end of the world.

“They might take our coffee and cigarette business, but it’s not where people go to eat,” he said.

Mr. Seekamp later attributed the store’s commitment to the community to its success and longevity.

“Brent’s has helped the Fire Department, Little Leagues, lacrosse and girls’ softball teams … all those things come under the roof at Brent’s,” he said. “I’m not sure the people at 7-Eleven can measure up. Let the chips fall where they may—we’re pretty confident in what we do here.”

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"Talk about what could be done to stop the invasion of chain stores in East Hampton Town has once again surfaced"

Nothing can be done. This is America and you can't discriminate against a business because it's a "chain". IGA is a chain, no?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 11, 14 4:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Welcome to the joys of Capitalism without restraint.

Oh boy, another rabbit hole . . . .
By PBR (4954), Southampton on Feb 11, 14 4:18 PM
"Welcome to the joys of Capitalism without restraint."

Do you think that Montauk has been adversely impacted by the 7/11 which has been operating there?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 11, 14 7:32 PM
Not familiar with that store.
By PBR (4954), Southampton on Feb 12, 14 6:57 AM
This is what this area needs. I am all about supporting local business, but the prices need to be kept competitive, not everyone in town is a hedge fund manager from manhattan pulling up to get a coffee and a sandwich in a Lamborghini . The next thing the area needs is a gas station with prices that reflect the real current prices before the working class vacates the area.
By BlueStreak (34), East End on Feb 11, 14 6:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Invasion of chain stores?" There's not a bit of a slant in the writing here, is there? The situation is really quite simple - if the people want the store, it will thrive; if they don't it will be out of business. That is "the people" in general; not those who pronounce themselves the arbiters of what everyone wants.
By VOS (1232), WHB on Feb 11, 14 11:14 PM
It's the perfect place for a 7-11. Springs has 10,000 residents and they need better access to a 24 hour convenience store. There's no houses, no quiet residential streets, it's an area that has been identified and developed as a commercial district, it's a huge wide highway with no traffic congestion and it's across the street and soon to be next to big apartment complexes. Build the damn 7-11 already and focus on bitching about something important.
By em (51), sagaponack on Dec 3, 15 10:13 AM
Sweet!
By Preliator Lives (432), Obamavillie on Feb 12, 14 6:33 AM
7-11 is a great place to buy your kids soda and microwaveable burritos or microwaveable breakfast patties for a quick breakfast on the go.
..
they also carry duraflame logs and more soda and stale donuts. and also tiny tubes of toothpaste for triple the price of normal sized toothpaste. you can also get coffee at seven eleven also.

.. and wonderful place to gather and hang out
By david h (405), southampton on Feb 12, 14 8:45 AM
Many of the locals did not want a 7-11 in Montauk but I see them in there every morning. If your going fishing, working or golfing early, it is sure nice to be able to get a cup of coffee or pick up milk late in the evening. They also kept IGA in line by providing competition. IGA was ripping every local off by being the only place to buy beer, milk etc.
By mtkfish (59), montauk on Feb 12, 14 10:45 AM
An added bonus of a 7-11 is the ease of hiring an illegal alien at the same time you get your morning coffee
By bigfresh (4595), north sea on Feb 12, 14 11:16 AM
2 members liked this comment
Hey, if most people want low cost labor landscaping, painting and cleaning their homes, then a place serving low cost microwaveable burritos and breakfast patties is needed.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Feb 13, 14 7:59 AM
hey if 7-11 homedepot walmart dicksports kfc sams club kmart holiday inn and condos can all pay the rent and taxes .. sign em up, bring them alllll the way to Montauk!
..time for the east end to change.
By david h (405), southampton on Feb 13, 14 12:46 PM
Will you people against this just stop whining..really..what is the big deal???....it's 2014 people!!!....get with it...
By johlenn (3), Flanders on Feb 13, 14 9:53 PM
Just read that the Montauk 7-11 is the most profitable 7-11 in the ENTIRE COUNTRY
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Feb 15, 14 1:31 PM