01/20/15 10:00am
01/20/2015 10:00 AM

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Another commercial development could be headed to Route 58 soon.

The Riverhead Town Planning Board last Thursday reviewed an application for a new retail center in between the town highway yard and Hudson City Savings Bank, across the street from Lowe’s.

Apple Honda owner Irwin Garsten is seeking to build a 64,000-square-foot retail center on an undeveloped 13.5-acre site he owns on the north side of Route 58.

Even though the adjacent Riverhead Centre development has two traffic signals right next door, the Garsten project will likely need another curb cut on Route 58 because the Riverhead Centre owners declined to allow a cross access easement which would allow traffic from one shopping center to cross over to the next without coming back onto Route 58, according to Peter Danowski, the attorney for Mr. Garsten.

He said he guesses that there won’t be a traffic signal there.

Mr. Garsten’s access point on Route 58 will likely have a right-turn-only restriction, he said. The property also extends as far north as Osborn Avenue, and will also have an entrance and exit on that road, as well, according to Mr. Danowski.

The other issue on the Garsten site that was discussed by the Planning Board last Thursday involved a water body on the north end of the property.

“This has pond in front of it, which some people said was not a wetland,” said Jeff Murphree, the town’s planning and building administrator. “We said yes it was. So we sent this back to (the state Department of Environmental Conservation) which said, ‘yes, it’s a wetland.”

Mr. Danowski said the so-called wetland was a hole designed to capture rainwater runoff from Route 58 years ago.

He said the DEC had given him a letter several years ago saying it was not a formal wetland. but once the Garsten application was filed about two years ago, the DEC decided to take steps to classify it as a wetland, a designation Mr. Garsten has challenged.

“We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do,” Mr. Danowski said, adding that the project has been moved back away from the wetland and a small building toward the front of the property has been eliminated.

The Planning Board voted to officially take “lead agency” status over the review of the application, rather than the DEC.

“We should work with DEC and the applicant together to look at a good design for the project,” Mr. Murphree said.

“We’re ready to rock and roll,” Mr. Danowski said. “We’ll do whatever Jeff wants.”

01/08/15 8:44am
01/08/2015 8:44 AM


A Cutchogue man with a history of arrests was charged Wednesday night for twice burglarizing a Route 58 business in recent weeks, Riverhead Town police said.

Joseph Reiter Jr., 37, of Cutchogue, who was wanted on New York State parole warrant, was arrested about 10:55 p.m. and charged with two counts of third-degree burglary, a felony, police said.


12/15/14 10:00am
12/15/2014 10:00 AM
A 7,200 sf retail building is proposed for this grass lot in Applebee's parking on Rt 58

A 7,200-square-foot retail building is proposed for this grass lot in the Applebee’s parking on Route 58. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

More stores appear headed to the west end of Route 58.

The owners of the property where Applebee’s restaurant is located are proposing to build a 7,200-square-foot retail building featuring two stores on what is now an undeveloped grass pad in the east end of Applebee’s parking lot.

Applicant SL Gateway II, LLC and UB Riverhead II, LLC, which have like ownership to the Applebee’s property and the adjacent Walmart and Bob’s Discount Furniture shopping center, are proposing retail stores of 4,200 and 3,000 square feet, respectively, in the new building.

The properties are both listed by New Jersey-based Lerner Properties.

According to Kimberly Judd, the attorney for the developers, the Applebee’s site plan for property was approved in 1999, when the land was zoned Industrial A. The site plan included the stores in the eastern pad and the developers proceeded to build the restaurant, the parking lot, the lights and all of the infrastructure.

The only thing never built were the stores.

In 2000, the town rezoned the property to Destination Retail Center zoning, which actually required larger stores than what was previously approved for the site.

As a result, the applicant needed to go to the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night to get variances to allow them to build less than what the zoning requires.

Under the DRC zoning, the minimum building size is 10,000 square feet, and the minimum store size is 3,500 square feet, which meant that the previously approved retail building no longer conformed with zoning.

“What we’re asking for is more restrictive” than zoning allows, Ms. Judd said.

The application also required some ZBA variances to allow the side yard setbacks, which conformed under Industrial A back in 1999 but not under DRC now, to be less that what zoning allows.

“The proposed variances are not substantial,” Ms. Judd told the ZBA Thursday. “We would have to rip up the parking and curbing otherwise.”

The ZBA approved the variances by a 4-0 vote, with ZBA member Frank Seabrook absent.

Asked afterward if there are any tenants lined up for the proposed new buildings, applicant Jason Lerner said, “None that we want to announce at this time.”


11/14/14 8:00am
11/14/2014 8:00 AM
Riverhead, Walmart, Newtown, Sandy Hook, Route 58, Riverhead

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said the owner of the former Walmart building on Route 58 may be interested in bringing in a movie theater. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio’s comment at the end of Thursday’s Town Board work session meeting almost flew under the public’s radar.

Someone might be interested in bringing a movie theater to Riverhead, she mentioned. (more…)

11/07/14 6:00am
11/07/2014 6:00 AM
Riverhead Dodge president Tony Strollo (left) with his son T.J. Strollo, vice president, and daughter Jane Millman, secretary and treasurer, at the former Out East Family Fun site on Route 58, which they recently purchased to relocate their dealership. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead Dodge president Tony Strollo (left) with his son T.J. Strollo, vice president, and daughter Jane Millman, secretary and treasurer, at the former Out East Family Fun site on Route 58, which they recently purchased to relocate their dealership. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead Dodge, which once billed itself as the only Riverhead car dealership not on Route 58, appears to be headed there.

Last month, the company purchased the former Out East Family Fun mini-golf and batting cage site on the western end of the busy thoroughfare, with the goal of building a new dealership there and eventually moving from West Main Street, said owner Tony Strollo. (more…)

10/29/14 8:00am
10/29/2014 8:00 AM
(Credit: Tim Gannon)

The former Rolle Brothers Farm Equipment property in Riverhead. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A proposed 38,204-square-foot shopping center on the site of the former Rolle Brothers Farm Equipment property on Route 58 received re-approvals last week from the Zoning Board of Appeals for some variances it originally received two years ago.