Hampton Jitney’s proposal for a passenger terminal and bus maintenance facility on Edwards Avenue received site plan approval from the Riverhead Planning Board last Thursday, more than five years after it was first proposed.
The company, which currently operates out of a facility on County Road 39 in Southampton, seeks to build a two-story, 24,615-square-foot passenger terminal and office, and a one-story 22,028-square-foot bus maintenance facility on a vacant 13-acre site on the west side of Edwards Avenue in Calverton, just south of TS Haulers.
The company will continue to operate out of the Southampton facility but plans to expand its business with the Calverton site, according to Jitney president Geoff Lynch. He told the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency last year that the company has about 300 employees and expects to move 100 of them to the Calverton site, but that in the future, he foresees the Calverton site also having about 300 employees.
The Planning Board approval came with a condition that the passenger terminal and the maintenance facility be built at the same time. Planning Board members said they had gotten the impression at prior meetings that the Jitney planned to build the maintenance building first, while holding off on the passenger terminal.
“We intend, during the initial construction, to have a seated waiting area for passengers and a reception desk to sell tickets and give out info,” Mr. Lynch said last Thursday. “What we’re not completing until later is the food court and some of the other retail spaces.”
Hampton Jitney last year received tax breaks from the IDA for the Calverton project, despite opposition from representatives of the Riverhead School District, who said tax breaks were eroding the district tax base at a time when the district is facing cuts in state aid.
In the IDA ruling, Hampton Jitney will receive sales tax exemptions on materials used in the construction of its new Edwards Avenue facility, a mortgage recording tax exemption and a property tax exemption that applies only to the value of the new construction and starts at 50 percent of that value in the first year before gradually decreasing five percent per year over 10 years.