A proposed drive-thru Taco Bell on the corner of Route 6 and Mohegan Avenue in Mohegan Lake has a large contingent of residents in the area calling for the project to be scrapped.
An online petition from Concerned Citizens for Mohegan Lake opposing the plan has generated more than 125 signatures in less than a week. A public hearing before the Yorktown Planning Board via Zoom is scheduled for Monday, April 12.
“It will be a tragedy to have this restaurant built in that location,” Thomas Mieto, a 20-year resident of Mohegan Lake, remarked during a Planning Board meeting when the project was first discussed. “It’s a disgrace. It’s wrong.”
In 2007, Yorktown officials approved a four-lot subdivision on the site, including a 4,000-square-foot bank in the same location where the 2,000-square-foot Taco Bell is envisioned. The bank was never built since the property owner was unable to find a tenant.
In 2018, the Yorktown Town Board rezoned the .83-acre property to commercial retail, paving the way for an eatery, such as Taco Bell, to seek occupancy.
Paul Dumont, a senior designer and civil engineer with JMC Site Development Consultants, said during a March 8 meeting a traffic analysis was completed in 2018 that determined there would be no difference in traffic congestion on Route 6 whether a bank, drive-thru restaurant or retail business existed on the property.
He also noted in 2007 several traffic improvements were made at the Route 6/Mohegan Avenue intersection when the credit union and daycare center were approved in the same location where Taco Bell wants to set up shop.
However, the petition circulating states there has already been one fatal accident on the roadway and traffic will only escalate if Taco Bell is approved.
Concerns about motorists cutting through residential streets to avoid traffic on Route 6 and increased litter that could seep into nearby Mohegan Lake were also expressed.
Jaclyn Guerra, a resident of Lookout Street in Mohegan, posed a number of questions to the Planning Board in a recent email. She noted that the corner of Mohegan Avenue and East Main Street is a particularly busy intersection, questioning if the town can be held liable if there is an increase in accidents at the intersection directly related to the project.
“Traffic frequently backs up in both directions on Rt. 6 all the way to the Cortlandt Town Center and St. George’s Winery. Drivers get so tired of waiting in this traffic that they frequently run the red lights, use the center turn lane on Rt. 6 as a passing lane, cut through the CVS parking lot, or take detours on Mohegan Avenue, Strawberry Rd, or Sagamore, depending on which direction they are traveling,” Guerra wrote. “When school is in session, buses are backed up for miles; then during the summer, parents for Camp Nabby are speeding through these tiny streets. The majority of my questions pertain to the above situations and how it will be affected by a drive-thru restaurant.”
Mieto noted there were already 23 restaurants within a one-mile radius of where Taco Bell would be situated.
“How many more restaurants do we need in the neighborhood?” he said. “It’s shameful to consider this project with so many restaurants struggling.”