Locals Don't Relish Site Chosen By McDonald's

By Isaac Guzman

Newsday - 14 March1996

If McDonald's ever manages to sell a Big Mac in Port Washington, residents say, the phrase "clogged arteries" will take on new meaning.

Putting a restaurant on the proposed site would nearly double the number of vehicles on the area's main arteries according to a study by the fast-food chain itself, said Myron Blumenfeld, chairman of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, an environmental group representing 1,000 families.

"The traffic is horrendous," he said. "It's above-normal traffic now and already a serious hazard. We're not anti-McDonald's, but this just isn't the place for it."

The chain wants to build a restaurant at the corner of Main Street and Port Washington Boulevard. But before it can, the company must get a variance-from the North Hempstead Board of Zoning and Appeals-allowing a restaurant in a commercial zone.

Another unappetizing aspect of the site, from Blumenfeld's point of view, is that it abuts a property formerly used by a dry cleaner, where the state Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the extent of a spill of trichloroethane, a solvent known to affect the central nervous system. One study found minute levels of the solvent beneath the basement of the proposed restaurant.

Local representatives for McDonald's said they could not talk about plans for the Port Washington site, and corporate officials could not be reached for comment.

The Board of Zoning and Appeals will hear public comment on McDonald's application for a variance on Wednesday at North Hempstead Town Hall. The meeting is to begin at 9:30 a.m., but the board is not expected to begin the hearing on the restaurant until after noon.

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