The Riverhead Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday to give final site plan approval to Grapes & Greens’ proposal to build a hard cider tasting room and retail store, with storage and processing of apples, at the former Blackman supply building at the corner of Sound Avenue and Osborn Avenue in Baiting Hollow.
The Riverhead Town Planning Board has granted preliminary site plan approval for a proposal that would allow the processing, retail sale and tasting of hard cider at the Grapes and Greens agricultural enterprise terminal on Sound Avenue, despite the fact that town is in litigation with Grapes and Greens owner John King, who has accused the town of stalling the application.
John King describes a proposed cider mill at Grapes and Greens. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
Will a hard cider mill inside the Grapes and Greens distribution center on Sound Avenue result in a nightclub-like atmosphere, denigrating the quality of lives of its neighbors?
That’s the fear of some of those neighbors, who came out to a meeting Thursday to protest a proposal to create a 38,000 square-foot cider-making facility inside the 108,000 square-foot building that once housed Blackman Plumbing and in 2012 was converted into the Grapes and Greens “agri-park” facility with $500,000 in funding from the New York State Economic Development Council.
However vacant space remains at the building; the application in front of the Planning Board calls for making alcoholic cider, with bottling and tasting onsite.
Grapes & Greens began distributing Port Jefferson Brewing Company beer on Monday. (courtesy photo)
Grapes and Greens is not just shipping grapes and greens anymore.
The distribution company on Sound Avenue, which opened up in 2012 in the former Blackman Plumbing building, for the past six months has added beer to its core business model, adding to the vineyards and produce farmers it currently services.
“We kind of accommodate everything now,” said Jim Alessi, director of the facility.