07/03/15 12:42pm
07/03/2015 12:42 PM
A two-story restaurant is being proposed for a sliver of land between the Route 58 Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The 16-seat restaurant is proposed for a sliver of land between the Route 58 Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Town Planning Board has rejected a proposal to build a new restaurant on three-tenths of an acre between the Route 58 Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue.

The board voted 3 to 2 against the preliminary site plan at Thursday’s meeting, with Ed Densieski, Stan Carey and George Nunnaro opposed and Richard O’Dea and Joe Baier in favor.

“I’m a strong supporter of property rights,” Mr. Densieski said. “But this is the epitome of poor planning.”

He added public safety is an important issue that must be considered.

Planning Board attorney Bill Duffy said he may recommend the board also vote against the final site plan at a future meeting.

Applicant Chuck Chockalingam of Guddha LLC, who acquired the lot from the county in a tax default, has decreased project’s size to a 16-seat, 1,300-square foot restaurant. The project, which dates back to 2012, at one time called for a 24-seat, 2,720-square foot restaurant.

In 2006, someone leasing the property from Mr. Chockalingum had submitted an application to build a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog restaurant.

As for the latest proposal, Mr. Chockalingum said the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals granted his request for variances on the required setbacks last week. The ZBA’s action, in fact, was re-approving the request that had expired.

Mr. Chockalingum has claimed that he’s allowed to build a restaurant since the property’s designation as a single and separate lot was created in 1950 before local zoning.

In March 2014, the Planning Board voted against a resolution approving the project following a debate in which Mr. Chockalingham, who said he is of Indian descent, implied there was a bias against him, though stopped short of calling it racism.

The normally talkative Mr. Chockalingham left the room without comment after Thursday’s vote.




07/03/15 5:00am
The glazed over window of the long-vacant West Marine building in downtown, not to mention the bricks falling apart, are things town officials hope to see less of

The former West Marine building in downtown in April. The building is vacant. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Riverhead Town may soon borrow a page from East Hampton Village in requiring owners of vacant stores in the downtown area to spruce up their windows with attractive displays, rather than just having an empty building or a window covered with newspapers.


06/26/15 12:23pm
06/26/2015 12:23 PM

Rainbow flag gay marriage

North Fork gay rights advocates are hailing a historic Supreme Court ruling Friday that established a constitutional right to same-sex marriage nationwide.

“Today is a monumental victory,” said David Kilmnick, CEO of Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Services Network. “It’s a monumental day in the history of the United States. The Supreme Court ruled that we’re protected under the Constitution. It doesn’t really get any bigger than this.” (more…)

06/25/15 6:00am
A birds' eye view of downtown Riverhead earlier this week. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A birds’ eye view of downtown Riverhead earlier this week. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

Twenty one years ago, the News-Review reported that there would “definitely be a 751-space, two-story parking structure” created in downtown Riverhead to address a burgeoning traffic problem.

While that traffic problem remains — and in fact, more residents than ever are living downtown, with more residential units in the works — the parking garage remains a dream.

But that didn’t stop a consulting firm from examining the idea at Town Hall recently after giving downtown traffic a grade of “F.”

That proposal, as well as others, were all part of a wider look into developing downtown Riverhead as it continues to grow — from a traffic perspective, a housing perspective and an overall marketing perspective. (more…)