Village at Jamesport hearing put on hold due to confusion over plans

01/20/2013 5:00 PM |
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The 'Village' is proposed for this land land on Main Road.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The ‘Village’ is proposed for this land land on Main Road.

The Riverhead Town Planning Board held off on scheduling a public hearing on the controversial Village at Jamesport development after a local civic leader pointed out a number of inconsistencies in plans being presented to the public — including confusion over which plan is actually being presented.

Larry Simms of the Save Main Road civic group found there are at least four different versions of the project’s site plan floating around, and said it’s impossible for the public — and possibly the town — to know which is the right one.

The Planning Board’s agenda for last Thursday’s meeting called for a vote to schedule a Feb. 7 public hearing on the site plan application for the Village at Jamesport — a 42,000-square-foot commercial development on 9.7 acres on the north side of Main Road in Jamesport, just north of the Elbow Room restaurant.

Mr. Simms said that in November, Charles Cuddy, the attorney for the applicant, said he had submitted an alternate site plan on Oct. 9, which was on the agenda for discussion at the Nov. 15 Planning Board meeting. Mr. Simms said residents who have been following the case knew nothing of the Oct. 9 plan before showing up at the Nov. 15 meeting. He said that on Jan. 4, he called the planning department to find out if a new plan had been submitted because he heard it was going before the architectural review board. But the plan they were told was going before the ARB was dated Oct. 27, 2010.

Then on Wednesday, a day before the Planning Board meeting, “we came into the planning department to make sure we were not missing anything, and we were shown a new plan, which was dated June 19, 2012,” Mr. Simms said.

And on Thursday, he said, there was another plan, dated April 2011, on display at the Planning Board meeting.

“I’ve been looking at commercial construction plans for more than 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mr. Simms, who has a background in making and marketing commercial building materials, told the Planning Board. “It looks like a shell game. You have to guess which is the real plan. It’s not possible for us, and probably not for you, to track what’s going on here.”

Mr. Simms said one plan shows 247 parking spaces and another shows 226 parking spaces. He said that when the Town Board granted two special permits for Village at Jamesport to allow two bistros and two professional office buildings instead of the permitted retail uses, it failed to recalculate the parking.

The Town Board, by a resolution agreed to by the applicant, limited the two bistros to a total of 4,000 square feet, instead of 8,000 square feet, which would normally have been permitted.

But Mr. Simms said “you’re still going to have 4,000 square feet of something else” such as retail, which would need parking. He maintains that the application falls short of the required number of parking spaces by about 27 because of the bistros approvals, since bistro parking is based on number of seats, not square footage. The applicant proposes two 50-seat bistros.

The plan that was the subject of the Nov. 15 Planning Board meeting also shows the entrance road to the development moved farther west and closer to the home of Tom and Anne Kowalsick. Robert Stromski, a consultant for the applicant, said the state Department of Transportation wanted the entrance moved farther west.

But the map Mr. Simms was given on Jan. 16 shows that entrance road back where it was in earlier plans.

Town planning director Rick Hanley said he had not seen the Jan. 16 plan.

“I can’t deal with unsolicited plans dropped off a day before a discussion is planned,” Mr. Hanley said.

“I make a motion to table the resolution on the public hearing notice until we have the correct maps,” Planning Board member Lyle Wells said. “We want to make sure everybody is looking at the same map.”

The board agreed, 4-0, with board member Joe Baier absent, to put off the vote to schedule a public hearing.

tgannon@timesreview.com