The property owner of the site of a proposed multiplex movie theater on Route 58 is exploring whether it can include a drive-through restaurant in the plan, according to Riverhead deputy town attorney Dawn Thomas.
Ms. Thomas said the attorney for the applicant Riverhead PGC contacted her in relation to a previous Zoning Board of Appeals decision that allows drive-through restaurants as an accessory use in business centers and wanted to see if that could apply to the multiplex plans, which are proposed in a shopping center zoning district.
Ms. Thomas said she was not comfortable with that avenue and suggested, based on that request, the town make drive-through restaurants a special permit use in that zone. Shopping center zoning districts only allow drive-throughs as accessory uses to banks and pharmacies, she said.
To do this, the Town Board could offer suggestions to the Planning Department for conditions an applicant has to meet for a special permit, whether it’s fencing, parcel size, distance from the road or other criteria.
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Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said if there are any drive-through restaurants, she’d want to see a fence around it so that any trash that customers might throw out their windows remains on the restaurant’s property. She said she would also want to make sure the drive-through lines would not spill out onto the road or block other drivers.
“You can’t have that queue line going through where there’s parking on both sides and people can’t get out,” she said.
Supervisor Sean Walter said he was thinking perhaps the use could be tailored to an entertainment aspect, such as a movie theater, but that he wasn’t sure it that would be too restrictive. Ms. Thomas said she could look into it.
Ms. Thomas said the special permit, rather than as of right accessory use, would “avoid the opportunity” for drive-throughs to start showing up all over without the Town Board’s approval.