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Sound Off: What Changes Does Sonic Proposal Need?

Share your thoughts on what Franchisee Spencer Hart needs to do to gain the BZA's approval.

When Sonic Drive-in was rejected by the Hempstead Town Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), residents against the project have voiced concerns with traffic, garbage and parking as primary concerns against bringing the fast-food restaurant to East Meadow.

Now, Sonic officials are working on a new plan to get the eatery to the former Rita's location on Hempstead Turnpike, and they told Patch that details will be available soon. 

Spencer Hart, the franchisee who also owns the North Babylon location, sought approval last year for eight variance applications. These included special exceptions to install a drive-thru window and use a portion of the premise for outdoor dining, as well as variances for off-street parking. 

Additionally, they were asking for permission to install 24 menu board signs under two proposed canopies, install a drive-thru preview menu and regular menu board and install a speaker and confirmation screen system for the drive-thru.

We want to know. What do you think needs to be in the plan to change the BZA's minds? Tell us in the comments section below.
Jon Genna November 19, 2013 at 06:42 AM
It was fine when proposed last time. These issues are not real. The first weekend or two may be difficult with traffic then will be fine. Look at the area, open parking lot and a closed building people are urinating in. This is needed to help the area. How anyone can think we are better off like this is insane!
Diane Radtke November 19, 2013 at 06:50 AM
I agree with Jon. All these empty stores here are a waste. Build the Sonic. I live within walking distance and it wouldnt bother me. However, I am concerned with the Pathmark shopping center. Does anyone know what they are going to do with that?
Community Servant November 19, 2013 at 07:07 AM
It needs the owners of a drunken middle aged club of a bunch of divorced slutty house-wives to stop lobbying against it, as well as EM older residents to stop being selfish and realize this WILL NOT CAUSE TRAFFIC! That is probably one of the least congested areas of East Meadow. Has anyone seen the new horrible eyesore they built at Newbridge and Hempstead tok which is already congested? It's entrance/exit ramp is less then 15 feet from the intersection where a lane merger occurs. Where were these complaining residents then?!
Community Servant November 19, 2013 at 07:07 AM
East Meadow is slowly becoming one of the worst working middle class towns around
Brent M. November 19, 2013 at 07:23 AM
@ Community Servant--- it should've been built when they first proposed !! But, the people who COULD attend the meetings, ie. MR EAST MEADOW himself and Ms. I DO NOTHING BUT COMPLAIN- that no longer lives in East Meadow, did attend and help put an end to it... Hope they are proud of themselves.. The homeless they now squat their, both figuratively & literally looks so much better!! THANKS MR EAST MEADOW... (can't mention his name, because now he will cry AGAIN about being bullied.. )
Jon L. November 19, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Because my post from the APP does not seem to be working here is take 2 (sorry if it duplicates) First off, what Mr. Hart really needs is a Town Supervisor who is not hell bent on a return to 1960's era 'suburban charm.' I'm sorry Kate but that ship sailed long before you were elected. We need a BZA that sees the value in a business owner who wants to invest in East Meadow, what I can't for the life of me understand is that this is planned on Hempstead Turnpike not some side street in Barnum Woods. This property currently sits vacant and has become a refuge for vagrants, much like Town Hall. In the end the biggest change that Mr. Hart can make to his proposal is to make sure that his Joe Margiotta 'tithes' are up to date with the Town and County Parties. He might have more success that way. (added): I know who the complainers are and notice how his son was recently honored by the Town, coincidence? I think not.
A. Nonymous November 19, 2013 at 08:14 AM
The franchisee probably needs to bribe the appropriate parties. There is no reason that a Sonice should have been turned away in the first place. The shopping center is a hole. Sonic would only improve it. The BZA is up to something.
elizabeth baptiste November 19, 2013 at 08:18 AM
The last thing East Meadow needs is another place to eat.Everywhere you go up and down hempstead trnpke there is a place to eat.I grew up in east meadow and lived near the beverage barn on front st which was always busy and homeless people would always hang out there drinking and doing who knows what else.As far as pathmarks shopping plaza I think they are putting another supermarket there in 2014 if they do not those other stores will suffer.Instead of always putting in fast food places why not do something constructive that would benefit the community
Jon L. November 19, 2013 at 08:25 AM
While I don't disagree with your point Ms. Baptiste the BZA has no control over who has interest in the property. While we would love to see a supermarket reclaim the vacant former Pathmark site I don't think it will happen. Mr. Hart is interested in cleaning up an eyesore and putting the property to good use and by doing so increasing the value with a positive impact on the property/school tax rolls not to mention the added sales tax revenue for the county selling shakes and hamburgers. 4% to the state and 4.825% to the county and locals. Not a bad deal.
elizabeth baptiste November 19, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Well Jon I guess you have a point they do have other supermarkets near bye.How about opening up a place where parents can bring there kids to play make one area a playground and another area a place for the kids to hang out they can have games for all ages maybe like a dave and busters for the parents they can have couchs chairs couple of big screen tvs a place to get food you can pay one price.It was just a thought since east meadow does not have anything like this.
Community Servant November 19, 2013 at 09:14 AM
@ Brent exactly! For those who don't remember this is the same parking lot where a man had a shootout with cops and ended up dead not too long ago... it was suspected he was either at zachary's or the late night tanning salon. Again we dont need more hang-outs for overgrown middle aged ex-housewives to get drunk at and pretend they are miley cyrus. That parking lot is full several days of the week with cars from these drunken drivers leaving here and driving the roads of east meadow? Why is that not of concern to the BZA or town officials?
Community Servant November 19, 2013 at 09:26 AM
East meadow board members seem to have no problem with walgreens locations less than a mile from each other, CVS locations 500 ft from each other on opposites of the road, or Dunkin Donuts locations 3 stop lights away from each other... Or the fact that we have 2 burger kings on the same side of the road within 2 miles of each other.
paul November 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Absolutely nothing. The franchise has a specific type of model that is required. The company knows what their model should look like and how it needs to be operated. If it is changed then it would not be a Sonic. Example for those who need it: No menu boards, no curb side food service, no limeades, no roller skating personnel, no lights, no signage etc. Then it would not be a Sonic now would it?:
FedUpRealist November 19, 2013 at 05:01 PM
As far as the BZA is concerned it's all about the money and who gets greased!!! Hempstead Turnpike IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE a multi-lane COMMERCIAL thoroughfare. A successful fast food joint in a VERY LARGE parking lot is not a bad thing. Potters is gone Hooters is gone as are others. Do you want a ghost town and the label of a white trash town? If you're a resident professional protester whose existance is void of any self-importance and bitching makes you feel good about yourself, that's what you're gonna get for YOUR efforts!!!
Brent M. November 19, 2013 at 05:15 PM
@ Ms. Baptiste.. I applaud your effort on building something for the parents /kids to hang out.. HOWEVER, there is something called Eisenhower Park less than a 1/4 mile away from pathmark and the proposed sonic.. so I seriously doubt the business owners would agree to put something to benefit the parents and kids.. I do see your point though. It just stinks the owner of crackmark only see $$$... its amazing how Eisenhower has skating rinks being built taking away the sled hill from parents/kids yet that was miraculously approved but a small little hut like Sonic has more opposition by an old man who hides in a shell crying about being bullied .. Kate Murray will fix this!! oh wait.. no photo ops.. forget it..
Charlie November 19, 2013 at 06:19 PM
TWO POINTS: If you have lived in EM for any length of time, and have half a brain, you already avoid Hempstead Tpke during peak times, there are easy ways around it. I avoid it at ALL times because of all the traffic lights. I do patronize some of the businesses on the Tpke, but i arrive there through the side streets. Secondly: I went out of my way to visit the Sonic in Babylon last week on a weeknight with my kids. It was my first time there. The place is beautifully landscaped, very clean and it was a very nice experience. They seem to be a good neighbor and a nicely run business. Food wasn't bad either and they obviously provide employment opportunities for our youth. I encourage anyone who has doubts about this proposal to go visit Sonic on Route 231 about a mile north of the SS Pkwy.
Frank T November 19, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Brent I was thinking the same about Eisenhower park or what's left of it after Mangano and Murray finish paving it over. I guess we don't have enough blacktop and empty buildings in EM.
Sid November 20, 2013 at 08:46 AM
lots of negative remarks regarding east meadow and our elected officials. seems those posting these negative remarks should sound off in the next town board meeting. (thumbs up for rite to be vocal) ALSO you should be aware the property owner has had negative feedback from the renters/lease holders of the office building which would share the same parking lot. if the plan passes, great! if not you may want to pass blame to the property owner. its all about the $$$. would you add a middle class burger joint opposite a upper class bar club? logistics factor in many ways BUT lets not forget.... property owners and most of the lease holders could care less about our neighborhood, they don't live here.
Sid November 20, 2013 at 08:56 AM
in response to: "Frank T November 19, 2013 at 06:20 PM Brent I was thinking the same about Eisenhower park or what's left of it after Mangano and Murray finish paving it over. I guess we don't have enough blacktop and empty buildings in EM." frank you comment represents two parts, local government improving our infrastructure with a new sports and entertainment for us to enjoy and local businesses shutting their doors due to the economy. agreed to many empty storefronts as more new storefronts are built. hopefully with tiny steps on improvement (like the proposed sonic) those empty storefronts will soon be flourishing businesses!
Frank T November 20, 2013 at 09:03 AM
Sid, I don't believe it is local govt responsibility to give away public parks to private enterprise. This new ice rink does not add to the tax base and unfairly competes with legitimate private enterprises that must pay excessive real estate taxes.
Sid November 20, 2013 at 09:22 AM
@ frank t, fair point, i see it as an improvement within our community. you have to agree it will bring people to enjoy a day with their family or play against another opposing team then hopefully enjoy lunch or dinner at a local restaurant? i had my doubts too, but realized the county could never afford a project such as that.
Jeanne Shea Herring November 20, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Spencer Hart had a great presentation at the high school about the proposed Sonic. The landscaping looked beautiful. It would look so much better than what is present now. The property owners of that property are a blind trust. They really don't care about East Meadow.I have spoke to Joe Morero many times about the condition of that property. I will be thrilled if Sonic goes there. I am going to ask Mr Morero if they will extend the irrigation pipes for the sprinklers to the corner of East Meadow Ave and Hempstead Turnpike. The Savannah sign looks terrible, The planter is always overgrown with weeds. It they had a sprinkler there, they could put plants and shrubs in.. I wish someone would take interest in the old Modell's supermarket. The roof leaks like a sieve. I wish the property manager would fix it up. I hope that when Sonic gets in it will revive that whole area
Susan November 20, 2013 at 11:39 PM
First of all, to Community Servant, there is NO East Meadow Board. The Board involved in the decision about Sonic is the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals. East Meadow has nothing to do with it as a village. We just have a few residents who get a bugs up their tushes and never stop complaining. Secondly, a few of you seem to be confusing the Town of Hempstead's politicians with those of Nassau County. The Town of Hempstead has NO control over Eisenhower Park which is owned by the County. You can definitely blame Kate for the departure of the Islanders but you cannot blame her for the building of the ice rink in Eisenhower. The ice rink was Ed's idea. I actually think it's a great idea. It will bring more people and therefore more money to the area. And you can't blame Ed for Sonic. How these two were even re-elected is a mystery to me! I was in favor of Sonic from the beginning. I understand a lot of the BZA's decision had to do with the loss of parking for Zachary's and Aura. I couldn't imagine Sonic would cause such an impact until a few weeks ago. I went to hear a band at Callahan's and when I left around midnight, the parking lot was jammed. I think the closest empty space was by Modell's! I really was surprised. But this is not a reason to not allow Sonic to open. They don't own the lot! Maybe they just need to make Sonic a little smaller? Who knows what the answer is? I hope they open. I'm tired of Hempstead Tpke being "Pawn Shop Tpke.". We are truly turning into the "East Ghetto" that people joked about!
robert November 21, 2013 at 02:43 AM
I am still hoping for a Sonic, but in the meantime, try the Roadhouse burger at Checkers. You won't be disappointed.
Brent M. November 21, 2013 at 07:01 AM
Sonic wouldn't make a difference because its near Aura.. If I remember, Aura started off as BUTTLES... then went to CHELSEA STREET.. then SAVANNAH.. now its Aura.. still by the same owner?? So a club that keeps changing its name because its doing so well -definitely should have a large say in a SONIC being built! ... I also just heard the old supermarket next to Modell's is asking $55,000 a month rent.. yet it needs major fix ups?? if this is true, how can you blame business for not wanting to pay that..
FedUpRealist November 21, 2013 at 08:44 AM
How's that HOPE & CHANGE thing treatin' ya'll???

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