A proposal to convert the former Bayview Inn and Restaurant building in South Jamesport into apartments was shot down by the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night.
The property’s new owner, a group headed by Southampton attorney Richard Mathew, sought a special exception from the ZBA to change the use of the property from one use that didn’t conform with current zoning (the restaurant and hotel) to another (apartments), which is something Riverhead’s town code permits so long as a special exception is obtained from the ZBA.
The current zoning of the property would allow only a single-family home.
While Adam Grossman, the attorney for the applicant, argued that apartments were closer to the historic use of the property, which had been a home for veterans for many years before becoming a restaurant and inn, neighbors who spoke at public hearings before the ZBA said they liked the restaurant use, but not the apartments, which they felt would be a more intense use of the property.
The application called for five apartments in the main building, and two more in a cottage on the same property.
In its decision, the ZBA wrote that the section of the town code that allows the ZBA to substitute one non-conforming use with another also sets a number of criteria that must be met in order to get approval, such as that the proposed use won’t negatively impact neighboring properties, or cause a health and safety problem, among other things.
“Unfortunately, the applicant has failed to make the required evidentiary showing and therefore the record is devoid of any substantive evidence which would support the board in making each and everyone of the four required determinations,” the ZBA ruling stated. “Mere conclusory assertions, statements and remarks without any substantive support therefore do not rise to an evidentiary showing sufficient to support a favorable determination in this matter.”
The vote was 4-0 with ZBA member Otto Wittmeier absent.
Mr. Grossman left without make any comment on the ruling.