Someone's got some juice...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Someone's got some juice...

...with the County, and it's something Bob Stevens could've used in the heyday of his appliance store on the edge of Gabreski Airport.

Few likely connected two items in the current Southampton Press Western Edition, because one was three columns with a color photo on the lower left of the front page, and the other was a single, unillustrated column on page A3.

Stevens Could Enter Agreement On Charges

Here's the key connection:

Direct entrance to Rechler Equity offices from Old Riverhead Road

The curb cut isn't new, but it was always blocked off, so that the biggest problem with the Gabreski location was clearly enunciated by Hallie D. Martin in her January 2010 story on Stevens' move off the airport:

"Those looking to buy a new washer, dryer or refrigerator from Bob Stevens Appliances in Westhampton will no longer have to navigate their way around Francis S. Gabreski Airport to get to the retail store.

Instead of making three lefts from the traffic light on Old Riverhead Road, near the airport's main entrance, cus­tomers now have to make just one turn from the north-south artery to reach the appliance store."

So the Rechlers get a direct entrance from County Route 31 where none was previously permitted for reasons never fully made clear.

(Note that access from C.R. 31 onto the airport through a temporary entrance 450 yards North of there was permitted for parking when the U.S. Open was held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in 1986, 1995 and 2004.)

Would that access point directly into his parking lot have saved Bob Stevens from the troubles he now faces?

Probably not, but like the old Borscht Belt gag about giving a dead man chicken soup, it couldn't have hurt.


1. Seeker said...

"Airport security" (post 9/11) was what I heard was the reason there couldn't be a direct entry into the lot for that building from County Road 31.

That's as large a load of codswallop as I've heard since Nancy Genovese was arrested for taking photos of a plainly visible, inoperable helicopter at the 106th ANG from that same road, C.R. 31!

On the three occasions of the golfing events I cited, that "breach" further North was open and unguarded for four-five days at a time, allowing anyone full (even furtive, if one wished) access to the entire airport, save the ANG area, but including the tower.

One hundred yards to the South there is the main entrance to the airport accessible 24/7, and there hasn't been a guard there for decades... the Guard House was even removed back in the early '90s.

I am not not not given to conspiracy theories, but it became apparent after the first public informational meeting held at the former "O" Club in 1978, that there has been resistance on the part of Suffolk County to allow the airport to be developed commercially... and I'm not talking Boeing 747 cargo planes that we used to torment then Legislator Beecher Halsey about back in '71-'72.

I could do a whole documented series on the post-USAF Gabreski, and even the most dim-witted reader would have to conclude that either the County was at the least benignly neglectful (misfeasant), or there was a malevolent cabal which intended the airport facility to lie fallow for their own nefarious undisclosed purposes.

2. Champ19 said...

Good eye, as always, Dean.

I, too, always wondered why that access was never granted. I am sure Stevens applied for it. I am sure it would have helped the business. Oh well.

Damn right, "O well!" I've got nothing for Bob Stevens personally... he was a nightmare for Code Enforcement when he was in the Village (North Mall II) because his premises were so slovenly and he was aggressively hostile to code compliance.

But right is right... when he moved onto the edge of Gabreski, the County gave him a lease but refused to made access easier!

If, as correspondent Seeker suggests, "airport security" was at the root of the refusal, the simple and suitable solution would have been to take the wire which blocked off the entrance to that premises' parking area, and relocate it to the rear boundary to keep people from driving down onto the rest of the airport.

3. Kathy said...

After 9/11 there was a police car there every day for years. I don't know when it stopped but the entrance may have been closed because of security.

That was a Sheriff's car, and it was there for "presence" only, not to actually interdict anyone.
– Dean

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