09/07/12 2:00pm
09/07/2012 2:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The North Fork Liquor store on Main Road in Jamesport operated across the street before its first home burned down.

Passersby may have noticed that the once-tiny liquor store along Main Road in Jamesport got really big over the past week or so.

So what’s going on?

Store owner Sado Gorgulu declined to speak to the News-Review about the expansion, suggesting the newspaper look at the plans on file in Riverhead Town Hall.

In a 2008 News-Review article about the store, which dates back to 1934, Mr. Gorgulu discussed the then-proposed expansion, saying, “The premises are too small. It used to be maybe two or three tourists a day. Now, its nine or 10, and they all want to buy Long Island wine, so we need more space.”

And, as it turns out, the expansion has full approval from the town Planning Board and a permit from the town building department.

Back in January, North Fork Liquor Store, the name on the application, received site plan approval from the Riverhead Town Planning Board to build a 1,105-square-foot, single-story addition to the existing 460-square-foot store, which included a cellar for storage.

The approval also allows construction of a separate 1,600-square-foot, two-story residence in the back part of the .38-acre parcel.

A building permit has been issued for the retail store expansion, which has begun, but not for the residence, on which construction has not yet started.

While the retail expansion looks to be bigger than a one-story building, it conforms to the elevations that were approved with the site plan and are on file in Town Hall.

Listed property owner Semra Gorgulu of Greenport, Sado’s wife, was able to increase the permitted building density on the property by buying 0.16 Pine Barrens Credits.

Under law, builders can buy development credits from land slated for preservation in the Pine Barrens and use them to increase development density in permitted receiving areas.

Mr. Gorgulu indicated in the 2008 article that he and his wife intended to live in the residence themselves.

The liquor store is located in the Rural Corridor zoning district, which allows retail stores, and the then-proposed building received a number of variances from the town Zoning Board of Appeals in May 2012 that allow it to have smaller setbacks from adjoining properties than permitted under zoning.

A building permit has been issued for the retail store expansion, which has begun, but not for the residence, on which construction has not yet started.

While the retail expansion looks to be bigger than a one-story building, it conforms to the elevations that were approved with the site plan and are on file in Town Hall.

The store predates zoning, and has been at its current location since 1942, having been originally built across the street. The neon sign out front, which wouldn’t be permitted in a new building, has been there since 1942 when it reopened after the first building burned to the ground.

And the store has a notable history.

It was the first store in Suffolk County to sell liquor in the months after the repeal of Prohibition in December 1933, and its original owner, Benjamin Densieski (an uncle of former Riverhead Councilman Ed Densieski) received a plaque from the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in 1984 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that liquor license, according to News-Review archives.

tgannon@timesreview.com