Another development coming to Route 58

01/20/2015 10:00 AM |

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Another commercial development could be headed to Route 58 soon.

The Riverhead Town Planning Board last Thursday reviewed an application for a new retail center in between the town highway yard and Hudson City Savings Bank, across the street from Lowe’s.

Apple Honda owner Irwin Garsten is seeking to build a 64,000-square-foot retail center on an undeveloped 13.5-acre site he owns on the north side of Route 58.

Even though the adjacent Riverhead Centre development has two traffic signals right next door, the Garsten project will likely need another curb cut on Route 58 because the Riverhead Centre owners declined to allow a cross access easement which would allow traffic from one shopping center to cross over to the next without coming back onto Route 58, according to Peter Danowski, the attorney for Mr. Garsten.

He said he guesses that there won’t be a traffic signal there.

Mr. Garsten’s access point on Route 58 will likely have a right-turn-only restriction, he said. The property also extends as far north as Osborn Avenue, and will also have an entrance and exit on that road, as well, according to Mr. Danowski.

The other issue on the Garsten site that was discussed by the Planning Board last Thursday involved a water body on the north end of the property.

“This has pond in front of it, which some people said was not a wetland,” said Jeff Murphree, the town’s planning and building administrator. “We said yes it was. So we sent this back to (the state Department of Environmental Conservation) which said, ‘yes, it’s a wetland.”

Mr. Danowski said the so-called wetland was a hole designed to capture rainwater runoff from Route 58 years ago.

He said the DEC had given him a letter several years ago saying it was not a formal wetland. but once the Garsten application was filed about two years ago, the DEC decided to take steps to classify it as a wetland, a designation Mr. Garsten has challenged.

“We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do,” Mr. Danowski said, adding that the project has been moved back away from the wetland and a small building toward the front of the property has been eliminated.

The Planning Board voted to officially take “lead agency” status over the review of the application, rather than the DEC.

“We should work with DEC and the applicant together to look at a good design for the project,” Mr. Murphree said.

“We’re ready to rock and roll,” Mr. Danowski said. “We’ll do whatever Jeff wants.”

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