The following comments were submitted on October 18th, 2019 to the Smithtown Board of Zoning Appeals. Interested in supporting The Foggiest Idea’s award-winning reporting and analysis? Click here.
To the Town of Smithtown Board of Zoning Appeals –
My name is Richard Murdocco, and I am writing to submit public comments in regards to zoning variances being requested in relation to the proposal to build a 104,000+ square foot BJ’s Wholesale Club in Commack.
As part of the research process for its award-winning body of work on Long Island’s environmental and development issues, The Foggiest Idea regularly reviews the policy actions taken by local, state, and federal governments that impact communities throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
While on a smaller scale compared to other developmental efforts in progress in the region, this proposal reflects broader regional and national trends that are shaping commercial centers across the country.
As such, I encourage the Board of Zoning Appeals to react favorably to these requests, as well as towards similar applications that seek to revitalize aging 20th century shopping centers, within reason of course.
Due to the changing dynamics of physical retail in the wake of broader consumer shifts to online shopping, the 213,000+ square foot Macy’s department store in Commack is no longer compatible with the desires or expectations of 21st century shoppers.
Given these changes, a retail anchor such as a BJ’s Wholesale Club will allow this aging suburban shopping center to remain economically competitive in the years ahead. That being said, the two additional pad sites collectively covering 4,500 square feet that are being requested are unnecessary given the string of retail vacancies along the Jericho Turnpike (NYS 25) corridor.
Overall, this new BJ’s being proposed is more than compatible with the existing usage at the center, especially since the store is slated to remain more or less within Macy’s physical footprint.
The wholesale club would be an overall improvement to the location, and likely help further anchor existing businesses.
The Foggiest Idea Inc.