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Neighbors object to McDonald’s drive-thru

Noise, trash among chief complaints

BENSONHURST – A McDonald’s restaurant on 86th Street wants to keep its drive-thru window up and running, but residents living near the fast food location aren’t lovin’ it.

Residents attended a Community Board 11 meeting on Sept. 12 to voice strong objections to an application filed by McDonald’s with the city to extend the terms of a special city permit to operate a drive-thru service at 2411 86th St.

The drive-thru, located in the rear of the restaurant, is noisy and generates a great deal of trash, according to residents.

“The garbage bins are behind my backyard,” Shelly Berger told the community board.

Flocks of birds descend on the bags of trash to scoop up leftover food, according to Berger, who said that as a result, his backyard “smells like a sewer.”

There are currently two trash bins at the location. The owners of McDonald’s promised to install a third bin, Berger said. But he expressed skepticism about the promise. “You could win the lottery before they bring in a third bin,” he said.

The loudspeakers through which customers order Big Macs, French fries and other items are so loud, Berger said he can hear what people’s food preferences are.

Another resident objected to the hours of operation. “They promised to close at midnight. At one o’clock in the morning, they’re still taking orders,” she said.

The resident suggested that a curfew be imposed on McDonald’s to give neighbors some peace and quiet late at night.

Eugene Pilman, a lawyer representing McDonald’s, said the restaurant strives to be a good neighbor.

“We’re discussing installing a gate,” Pilman told the community board.

Ross Brady, chairperson of Board 11’s Planning and Zoning Committee, recommended that the city approve the extension of the special permit, but with conditions attached.

Brady’s committee wants McDonald’s to re-test noise levels (a previous test found the decibel level to be acceptable), enclose the area where the trash bins are located and establish a weekday curfew of 11 p.m. for the drive-thru.

The committee supports the idea of allowing the permit “to move forward with these provisions,” Brady said.

The community board voted to accept the committee’s recommendations. The board will report its vote to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals.

Board 11 Chairperson Bill Guarinello urged residents to attend the hearing of the BSA when the board takes up the McDonald’s special permit matter.

The BSA is the ultimate arbiter, said Guarinello, who added that the community board acts in an advisory capacity only and cannot stop the special permit from moving forward.

Still, it was important for residents to be able to voice their concerns to the community board, Guarinello said. “We can ensure that these people are being heard,” he said.

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