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Planning Board approves two projects on Route 58, including PBMC annex

09/17/2015 6:52 PM |

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An annex building for Peconic Bay Medical Center and two retail stores on Route 58 both received final site approval Thursday from the Riverhead Town Planning Board.

The 3,500-square-foot annex, to be built in the parking lot of Bob’s Discount Furniture, is envisioned as a way to ease the burden of PBMC’s emergency room, said Ron McManus, PBMC’s senior vice president. The 7,200-square-foot retail space, to be built next to Applebee’s, will have two tenants, according to the developer.

One tenant will be Visionworks, an eye care store, according to developer Jason Lerner. Kimberly Judd, the applicant’s attorney, said the other isn’t finalized yet, but may be a Verizon Wireless store.

The Planning Board approved the retail space by a 3-2 vote. Planning Board chairman Richard O’Dea and vice chair Joe Baier voted no, although Mr. Baier said he voted no because he hadn’t received the resolution early enough.

Planning Board member Stan Carey, who was critical of the plan, said he voted yes because the project actually had a site plan approval in 1999, when Applebee’s was approved.

It only needed site plan approval because the town changed the zoning of the property in 2004, when it updated its master plan, officials said.

The Planning Board granted preliminary site plan approval to the Applebee’s lot two weeks ago and had granted preliminary approval to the PBMC project in February.

The approval for the PBMC annex allows for an additional 1,900-square-foot addition in the future.

The building will be linked by Internet to PBMC’s main campus so that records can be transmitted electronically and radiology reports can be read by a radiologist in the main building, Mr. McManus said in an interview after the vote. The annex also will have its own X-ray machine and a small lab where blood work can be done, he said.

He said that once they get the building permit, they want to move quickly to start construction.

The vote on that application was 4-0; Mr. Carey abstained.

Mr. Carey has been critical of the parking in that shopping center, called Gateway Plaza, which also contains Walmart and is adjacent to the Applebee’s shopping center on the western end of Route 58.

Mr. Carey also has been critical of the intersection of Route 58 and Kroemer Avenue, which serves as an entrance to both shopping centers, both of which are owned by companies controlled by New Jersey-based Lerner Properties.

The applicant had to purchase 3.39 agricultural preservation credits in order to increase the building lot coverage from 21.75 percent to 22.38 percent. The farmland those credits came from can not longer be developed as anything other than agriculture.

Mr. McManus said Lerner is contributing financially to the PBMC project.

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