07/19/14 12:00pm
07/19/2014 12:00 PM
Riverhead, Taco Bell, Nathan's Famous, Route 58

A two-story restaurant is being proposed for a sliver of land between the Route 58 Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Riverhead’s smallest proposed restaurant keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Though reducing the size, the number of seats, and the number of parking lots the restaurant can hold hasn’t been enough to get approval from the Riverhead Planning Board.

At least, yet. (more…)

07/08/14 8:00am
07/08/2014 8:00 AM
A stop-work order was issued at the Route 58 BJ's and KMart shopping center in June. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A stop-work order was issued at the Route 58 BJ’s and KMart shopping center in June. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A month after issuing a stop-work order at the BJ’s and KMart shopping center for cutting down several trees without proper permits, Riverhead Town plants to authorize legal action against the shops’ owners, according to Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter.  (more…)

06/27/14 3:00pm
06/27/2014 3:00 PM
The Costco Wholesale store was packed Thursday, its opening day. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Costco Wholesale store was packed Thursday, its opening day. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Despite a number of controversies over the past year, the Riverhead Costco store was issued a temporary certificate of occupancy in time to meet its announced June 26 opening date  on Thursday.

And it was greeted by large crowds of shoppers. Costco

“We are thrilled to be bringing Costco’s low warehouse prices to the residents of Riverhead,” warehouse manager Jon Jovel said in a press release. “They have been asking us to open here for a long time, and we already have made an impact on the local job market. We look forward to contributing to the community in many ways.”

Town officials had previously said the store would not be issued a CO, allowing it to open to the public, unless it met all of the conditions of a May 15 amended site plan approval issued by the town Planning Board.

The approval required the developer of the site, Brixmor Property Group, to  replace a wooden fence around the property with a chain link fence with privacy slats, and to plant all of the trees buffering neighboring properties that had been previously called for in the earlier approval — and, lastly, to replace trees that have since died.

It also required them to spread out excess sand on the property over a 20-acre portion of the site, resulting in the grade of the land being raised by 3.5 feet over the prior Planning Board approval from the fall of 2012.

Residents in the Foxwood Village development to the north and the Millbrook Community development to the east had complained about the lack of screening between their homes and the shopping center after Brixmor, with Town Board and Planning Board approvals, clearcut the entire 41 acre site, even though the builders only planned to develop a portion of it.

According to Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, the store was issued a temporary CO and not a permanent one because the traffic light, which it shares with another shopping center across the street, had not been fully accepted by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, and because the developer needed to sprinklers and hydroseed — a type of fast growing grass — on a 20-foot section of lawn around the parking lot.

Mr. Walter said both were being done, and he doesn’t anticipate the store will have any problems getting the permanent CO.

He said all the other requirements of the amended site plan approval have been met.

The Costco site is actually separately owned from the rest of the shopping center, which is called The Shops at Riverhead and is owned by Brixmor. However, another part of the amended site plan allowed the developers to build just the Costco store initially, since they didn’t have any tenants yet for the rest of the project.

Robert Hall, a Foxwood Village resident who has represented the homeowners there at planning meetings on the development for several years, was not happy that the town granted the CO.

“They said that unless they completed everything on the amended site plan, they wouldn’t get a CO,” he said. “I don’t believe they’ve completed everything.”

Although new spruce trees were planted along the border with the Foxwood and Millbrook communities, he said the builders never removed the arborvitae trees that were previously planted. He said he and many other residents agree the trees “look like junk.”

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Caption: Neighbors have complained about these arborvitae shrubs. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

05/10/14 10:00am
05/10/2014 10:00 AM
(Credit: Tim Gannon)

(Credit: Tim Gannon)

For readers out there who aren’t big town hall buffs, our government reporter, Tim Gannon, does a bang-up job each week reporting live from public Town Board meetings. In a media cycle that calls for fast, reliable information, his live blogs — with quotes, photos and meeting details along with his built-in perspective from 18 years covering the town — offer a great glimpse into the inner workings of our local government, if that’s your thing. Of course, since I’m an editor it’s my job to follow the news out of our local schools, governments and business communities (more…)

04/26/14 10:00am
04/26/2014 10:00 AM
Bob's Discount Furniture and Pet Valu will be moving in next to Walmart. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Bob’s Discount Furniture and Pet Valu will be moving in next to Walmart. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The building next to Walmart is soon expected to be filled by a furniture and pet store, which should be starting to open by Memorial Day.

The tenants, identified at Thursday night’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, “at this point are Bob’s Furniture store and a chain called Pet Valu,” said attorney Linda Margolin, who was representing the property owner of the Walmart site at a hearing seeking a sign variance for the property. 

Bob’s Discount Furniture has 52 locations in 11 states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including four stores in Nassau and Suffolk counties, the nearest being in Nesconset.

The company is headquartered in Manchester, Conn. and was founded in 1991. In addition to furniture, the stores also feature a “complimentary cafe with gourmet coffee, ice cream, fresh baked cookies and candy,” according to the company web site.

Pet Valu is a Canadian-based pet food and supply chain that has more than 500 locations in Canada and the northeast United States, with the nearest one being in Hauppauge.

Jeffrey Locklear, building supervisor with Kane Builders, said on site Friday that he expected work to be done by Memorial Day weekend. He said Bob’s would like to be open by Memorial Day, with Pet Valu opening up soon after.

The ZBA on Thursday approved the sign variance, in which the owners of the Walmart shopping center — which is being called Garteway Plaza — sought permission for a second directory sign which would be located on the Applebee’s property just east of Gateway Plaza.  It would be identical to the one at the west end of the property.

Both the Walmart site and the Applebee’s site have affiliated ownership, and they are asking that the second directory sign be on the Applebee’s property by the eastern entrance to the shopping center, aligned with Kroemer Avenue, because the electronics for the traffic control lights are buried on the northwest corner of this intersection, which is on the Gateway Plaza land, according to Ms. Margolin.

The 27,000 square foot shopping center on the eastern portion of Gateway Plaza is under construction and doesn’t have any tenants now.

Town officials say they haven’t yet received any applications for Bob’s Discount Furniture or Pet Valu.

In addition to the Gateway Plaza and Applebee’s, the site plan approval for Applebee’s from more than 14 years ago also allows the developers to build another retail store on a vacant 7,200 square pad in the eastern portion of the Applebee’s parking lot.

04/25/14 5:15pm
04/25/2014 5:15 PM
The site of construction at Costco in late March. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The site of construction at Costco in late March. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The controversial Costco/Shops at Riverhead development on Route 58 has been issued a stop work order, putting the entire project on hold until the developer can show that the work being done is in conformance with its approved site plan, according to Riverhead Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz.  (more…)