The Riverhead Town Planning Board is scheduled to discuss today Farm Country Kitchen’s plans to have offsite parking.
The Riverhead Town Board took the popular West Main Street eatery to court in 2011, claiming it had a certificate of occupancy only for a take-out deli and had expanded illegally into a full-service restaurant. One of the town’s complaints dealt with the lack of parking at the site, located on the south side of busy West Main Street.
That case is still pending, but one step restaurant owners Tom and Maria Carson took to rectify that issue was the purchase of a .70 acre parcel on the west side of Swezey Avenue, just south of the railroad tracks, to serve as off-site parking. The lot already has a paved parking lot.
Town planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree said the issue is merely on the Planning Board agenda for discussion today at 3 p.m. The applicant will likely need a Zoning Board of Appeals variance too, he said, since the lot they bought is 243 feet from the main building and the Town Code only allows off-site parking within 200 feet of a business.
• The Planning Board may also make a decision on Guddha Co. LLC’s application to put a 24-seat, 3,200 square foot fast food restaurant on a .3 acre parcel next to Taco Bell on the northwest corner of Harrison Avenue and Route 58.
The board voted to table its decision on the application for two weeks a month ago, after it became clear the vote would be tied, since one member was out. At its meeting two weeks ago, the board again tabled the vote for two weeks because newly appointed Planning Board member Stan Carey wanted to get more information before voting.
The Riverhead Town Board is planning to vote at its meeting tonight to petition the Business Improvement District Management Association to hire its current president, Robert James Salon co-owner Ray Pickersgill, as executive director, for a salary of no more than $6,000 for 2104.
Supervisor Sean Walter says he proposed the measure in light of how much time Mr. Pickersgill — currently serving as the BIDMA president — has put into revitalizing downtown during his four years as BID president, which is an unsalaried position.
Mr. Walter said the money would come from the BID’s $96,500 budget, which the Town Board is also voting to approve tonight. He believes there is enough money in that budget — up from last year’s $81,600 budget — to fund the position.
“Ray has done so much work for the BID at the expense of his own business, and there’s money in the BID that would allow this,” Mr. Walter said. ”I think it’s time for the Town Board to recognize his sacrifice with more than just a proclamation.”
The supervisor said Mr. Pickersgill’s efforts as BIDMA president have brought thousands of people to downtown Riverhead through events like the recent indoor Farmers Market, the weekly Cruise Night car shows in the summer, and the annual cardboard boat races.
The Town Board is officially the governing body of the BID, but the seven-member BID management association runs the day-to-day business of the BID.
Mr. Pickersgill, who would have to give up his BIDMA seat, was uncertain whether he wants to keep that seat or take the executive director post, which is not a voting position. The BIDMA would also have to vote to create the position.
“I have mixed emotions,” Mr. Pickersgill said in an interview. “If I’m not the president, will I still have the control I have now to get things done?”
He said he wanted to talk to the executive director of the BID in Patchogue to gauge his experiences.
The BID has had a paid executive director in the past, but currently has no paid staff. Mr. Pickersgill said the board saved about $30,000 a few years ago by eliminating its secretary and its office, but he said he took up some of those responsibilities himself.
The BID is a taxing district comprised of 322 properties in the downtown Riverhead area. Its functions include capital improvements, holding events and trying to bring people to the downtown area.
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Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota is expected to announce details tomorrow about an East End Drug Task Force bust involving five Riverhead men dealing heroin stamped with the word “Hollywood,” according to a press release.
Richard W. Jurgensen of Riverhead died Feb. 13 at Peconic Bay Medical Center. He was 70. (more…)