The face of one busy intersection in Mattituck is changing for good.
After about two years of public outcry and back-and-forth discussion in local government, construction crews are hitting the pavement, converting the old Citgo gas station on the corner of Factory Avenue and Route 25 in Mattituck into a 7-Eleven.
They were busy at work just before noon on Wednesday, as patrons began to crowd into , a new restaurant that now occupies the old North Fork Grill on Route 25 across from Magic Fountain ice cream shop.
"We started work about two weeks ago and plan to be done by September," said one crewman on the 7-Eleven project who did not want to give his name.
The plan for the 7-Eleven calls for the conversion of the existing 1,985-foot gas station and convenience store space to a 2,670 square-foot convenience store, including the construction of a 685 square-foot addition, in the town's business zone.
Developer Abi Zeid of GAZ Realty had been before the Southold Town Planning Board several times last year regarding the hot-button application and offered to expand parking to address residents' concerns about traffic congestion issues.
During the fall of 2009, about 50 North Fork residents gathered outside the gas station to protest the 7-Eleven, saying that their community was once again targeted for increased density.
"We had 1260 people sign petitions against that 7-Eleven," said Art Tillman, Mattituck resident and chairman of the, in an i "I was told when I presented that petition to the Town Board that it was one of the largest petitions ever presented. So obviously, we are very disappointed."
With delivery trucks often lining up on both sides of Factory Avenue at the same time to unload products into Waldbaum's grocery story, the mostly residential street is often congested. Early this month, the Southold Town Board to 30 minutes per vehicle to help calm traffic.