The All Star’s request for a new sign consisting of a large bowling bowl and pin is going back for revisions.
At a public hearing Thursday night, the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals told the applicants to revisit the town’s Architectural Review Board and come back with a sign the ARB approves.
The All Star, on Route 25 in Riverhead, just west of County Road 105, is seeking variances from the ZBA to allow the sign, which would exceed town size requirements.
The All Star’s name doesn’t include the word “bowling” in it, because the owners want it to be known as more than a bowling alley, they said. But they also feel people driving by don’t recognize that it is a bowling alley.
The All Star had originally sought an electronic sign with moving images, but withdrew that due to community opposition, before any hearings were held. Two weeks ago The All Star came back to the ZBA with a proposal for a large bowling ball and pin on a pedestal. That plan was redesigned to remove the phone number and include the alley’s logo.
Chris Smith, one of The All Star’s owners, said they need a sign that will tell people they’re a bowling alley.
“People drive by and they think it’s a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall or something,” he said. “It doesn’t look like what it is.”
The planning department has measured the proposed bowling ball and pin as being 96 square feet, well over the 32-square-foot maximum allowed by the Town Code and therefore requiring a ZBA variance.
But Mr. Smith disagreed with town’s measurement method. He said the town is just drawing an imaginary box around the proposed structure, which would include “the air around it” as part of the square footage.
He claims the proposed sign is 32 square feet. He said two weeks ago that the bowling pin would be six feet high and would sit on a 10-foot pedestal, with the ball next to it.
The proposed new sign ran into opposition from the ARB and from some residents who spoke at Thursday’s hearing for a variance of the town’s requirements.
“I’m glad the bowling alley is there, I wish them success, but we don’t need a sign that’s two or three times bigger than what the law allows,” said resident Nancy Dillingham. “When they built it, they knew the law.”
“I commend them on finishing the building and opening the business. It looks really nice the way it is,” said Andrea Hanulec, who lives across the street from The All Star. “But I would really hate to see an eyesore of a sign on the road. I consider us the beginning of the North Fork where we are and I would hate to see it marching on, the kind of things that are going on to the west of us.”
Mr. Smith agreed with Ms. Hanulec’s assessment of the North Fork.
But he said the sign they’re seeking is not large in the context of the property’s size.
Richard Searles, chairman of the town’s Architectural Review Board, said the ARB had some issues with the proposed sign.
“We didn’t think it conformed to what we’d like to see at that particular site,” he said. “We’d like to see something different, other than what he proposed.”
ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin suggested The All Star go back to the ARB and come up with a sign the ARB likes before coming back to the ZBA.
ZBA voted to continue the hearing on Aug. 27 after the ARB makes a recommendation.