10/23/14 3:32pm
10/23/2014 3:32 PM
A six-mile stretch of Main Road is being pitched for an historic district. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road is being pitched for an historic district. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

The National Register Historic District proposed for Main Road in Aquebogue, Jamesport and Laurel has already been rejected by the Riverhead Town Board — and it appears to be one heading that way with the Southold Town Board as well.

“The Town Board had decided that the fate of the proposed district in Southold would be left to the will of the property owners who own land included in the proposed district,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said. “We have had 19 owners raise objections and only four show support. Southold cannot support the proposed district moving forward based on those figures.” (more…)

07/18/13 1:00pm
07/18/2013 1:00 PM
Bowling Alley in Riverhead

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The All Star bowling alley on Route 25 Riverhead.

Owners of The All Star bowling alley in Riverhead are no longer seeking to install an electronic sign in front of their Route 25 business, something area residents have opposed ever since catching wind of the plan.

Instead, they are now seeking to have a large bowling ball and pin structure in front of the Main Road building.

The pin would be six feet tall and would sit on a 10-foot tall pedestal, bringing the top to 16 feet. The structure would need variances from the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals.

Chris Smith, one of the owners, told ZBA board members last week that people driving by who aren’t familiar with the business don’t know what type of business is there.

They’ve had some trouble drawing people in the summer, he said.

The official name of the business is The All Star, with no mention of bowling.

“We want the opportunity to show the public that we are a bowling alley,” he said, adding that since the area already has farm stands with giant strawberries out front, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have a giant bowling pin.

(Read more below)

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The sign now planned for All Star would feature space to announce upcoming events.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The sign now planned would contain space to announce upcoming events.

But ZBA member Otto Wittmeier asked why the owners don’t have the word “bowling” in their business’ name.

Mr. Smith said that they don’t want to be known as just a bowling alley, since there is a restaurant and bar, game room and often live music at the business as well.

They need ZBA variances for the height of the proposed sign, which is one foot over the 15-foot height limit, and for the overall square footage, which is 96 square feet, instead of the maximum permitted square footage of 32 square feet.

They also seek permission to have a telephone number on the sign, something the town doesn’t allow, and which ZBA members said they won’t allow.

Jeff Rimland, another owner of the business, said in an interview after last Thursday’s ZBA meeting that he feels it’s not accurate to say the proposed sign is 96 square feet. In coming up with that number, the town essentially drew an imaginary box around the outskirts of the sign.

This, he said, is counting “air” as part of the sign’s square footage.

The All Star originally proposed an internally lit digital sign in front of the business, but that met with a number of letters in opposition, saying it was out of step with the character of Main Road and the North Fork as a whole.

The ZBA originally scheduled a hearing for the digital sign proposal on April 25, but it was adjured or rescheduled a number of times.

A number of residents who live nearby had attended the scheduled May 9 hearing to voice their opposition to the internally lit sign, but that hearing never took place because Mr. Rimland forgot to bring proof that mailings were sent to neighboring residents to notify them of the it.

ZBA member Leroy Barnes said they have had numerous adjournments of hearings of late, on The All Star’s and those of other proposals, which he feels dilutes the public’s response to projects, and he suggested the ZBA crack down on it.

There were only two speakers at last Thursday’s hearing on the sign, and both were representatives of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, an association of civic groups.

Dominique Mendez, the group’s president, read a letter from South Jamesport resident Larry Simms, who said a 96-square-foot sign is a billboard, not a sign, and that he sees no reason the applicant can’t find a way to comply with the town code without needing a ZBA variance because there are no trees concealing the sign. Phil Barbato, the group’s vice president, also urged ZBA members to deny the variance requests, saying that this area is “becoming Jericho Turnpike all over again. It’s creeping east.”

The ZBA took no action on the proposal and the hearing was held over to the July 25 meeting.

tgannon@timesreview.com 

02/15/13 2:00am
02/15/2013 2:00 AM
George Woodson of Riverhead

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Highway Superintendent George Woodson uses heavy equipment to clear Marcy Avenue at 4:30 Saturday.

Despite the unique challenges every big storm poses, Riverhead Town Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson has pretty much seen it all. No career politician, Mr. Woodson is a career highway worker with over two decades of experience as a town employee.

His expertise and work ethic show during every major weather event, when he rolls up his sleeves and takes to the roads himself.

He leads by example, which motivates workers and, in the end, means safer roads for residents. Of course, we would be remiss if we did not tip our hats to all the highway workers, too. The department has been operating at historically low staffing levels in recent years, yet it continues to impress taxpayers with its performance every time.

As Mr. Woodson notes in our coverage of the road-clearing efforts, there are no alternating teams for Riverhead Town highway workers, as is the case with the state. They’re all out there, all the time, save for two or three hours’ sleep here and there overnight or during white-out conditions.

In contrast, the performance of the state Department of Transportation (though not its workers themselves) was disappointing at best. The state seems to have no ability to turn up the volume and beef up snow removal staffing when it comes to the largest storms.

On Friday and Saturday, officials said, the DOT had three trucks assigned to cover Route 25 from Riverhead all the way to Orient, and another two trucks assigned to Route 24 in Southampton Town. That might be enough for a regular snowfall, but not a historic blizzard.

The lack of state resources was evident on our state roads. Route 24 was a deathtrap into Saturday night. And Routes 25 and 25A in Calverton and Wading River remained largely impassable for more than 48 hours.

All the while, other main roads in Riverhead Town were mostly clear, save for some snow blowing from farm fields.

Town and county officials have been mostly polite in their public comments about the state DOT, while rightfully criticizing residents for leaving cars on roads and being out when they shouldn’t have been. But the time for delicacy with the DOT is over.

Highway superintendents from across the county should demand changes in the way state roads are cleared.

Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before something tragic happens.

09/21/12 8:00am
09/21/2012 8:00 AM
All Star Lanes, Riverhead bowling alley

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Supervisor Sean Walter is joined by town and county officials as he cuts a ceremonial ribbon at All Star Lanes in Riverhead.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and other officials helped cut the ribbon at All Star Lanes on Route 25 Thursday to mark the grand opening of the family entertainment complex, which includes a restaurant and arcade in addition to bowling lanes.

“This building was an eyesore to the town,” Mr. Walter said of the once-abandoned property during his remarks before cutting the ribbon on the new bowling alley, adding he felt a “synergy” between the project’s fruition under new owners Jeffrey Rimland and Christopher Smith and the revitalization of downtown Riverhead.

“I think people are going to be stunned by the beauty of this,” he said.

Manager Peter Sgroi said business has been good so far, especially just after 5 p.m., when many have just gotten off work.

As far as the restaurant’s food menu, Mr. Sgroi said North Fork chef Keith Luce has been busy coming up with new items for the menu and has thus far generated seven or eight new items a week, with more to come.

Co-owner Chris Smith said his favorite so far is Mr. Luce’s “Dilemma Dog,” a sausage of Mr. Luce’s design with a slab of smoked cured bacon and “special ingredients” inside of a “special bun.”

While the alley is fully functioning, Jamesport designer John Mazur of Material Objects said some finishing touches, like vintage lighting and embellishments under the bar, are still being applied inside the building.

The unfinished building had gone into foreclosure, according to records, and the property was overgrown with weeds before the current owners bought it from a bank and rebuilt it.

gvolpe@timesreview.com

09/27/11 8:46am
09/27/2011 8:46 AM

BARBARALLEN KOCH PHOTO | Road work continued on West Main Street Friday.

The five-mile Main Street road project in Riverhead will now involve daytime resurfacing work, which a state Department of Transportation official warned would likely cause traffic delays in the weeks ahead.

Work on the current two-week phase, which covers drainage repair and the striping of old pavement between Mill Road and Long Island Expressway, is still under way, according to DOT spokesperson Eileen Peters. The project began in the middle of last week.

The second phase which includes the road between Mill Road and Raynor Avenue, could begin by the end of this week, Ms. Peters said. The third phase which will occur between Raynor Avenue and Town Hall and the final phase will be on the road between Town Hall and the eastern intersection with Route 58.

The project originally only called for resurfacing work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and the DOT was originally expected to work on the shoulders during the day and repave the lanes at night, but changed course because the current plan is more efficient.

Work between the Long Island Expressway and Raynor Avenue, as well as work between Town Hall and Main Street’s eastern intersection with Route 58, will now occur during the day.

No road closures are expected during that time, although traffic will be detoured around construction.

“No lanes will be closed during the day, but traffic will be ‘shifted’ onto the available pavement,” Ms. Peters said in an e-mail. “One lane in each direction will remain open during the day.”

Night work will occur between Raynor Avenue and Town Hall, with one lane closed and alternating lanes of traffic being allowed to pass.

“The roadway will be repaved between the shoulders first, followed by the shoulders being repaved toward the end of the projects,” Ms. Peters said.

The project is still expected to take eight weeks to complete. Ms. Peters stressed that the timeline may be affected by weather conditions.

vchinese@timesreview.com