NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The ‘Village’ is proposed for this land land on Main Road.
The Save Main Road advocacy group has refiled its lawsuit seeking to overturn special permits the Riverhead Town Board granted for the Village at Jamesport commercial project in April 2012.
Group representatives say they have corrected the technical flaws that got the lawsuit dismissed earlier this year.
Save Main Road is an unincorporated Jamesport civic group that says it has 250 members. However, the original lawsuit, filed in August 2012, only mentioned one of them by name, that being Larry Simms, who lives in Manhattan and has a home in South Jamesport.
Mr. Simms was described as the legal liaison for the group.
Because of this, state Supreme Court Justice Hector LaSalle dismissed the case in January on the grounds that Save Main Road lacked legal “standing” to bring the case, and had failed to show how the special permits allowing Village at Jamesport to have two bistros and two professional offices would specifically harm any of its members.
Mr. Simms said Save Main Road decided to refile the lawsuit, rather than appeal the January dismissal.
“Instead of proceeding down the long and costly road of proving the lower court wrong, we simply fixed the perceived problem,” he said in a press release. “Our papers filed this week include affidavits from a homeowner and from a business owner, both in the immediate project vicinity, and both Save Main Road members.”
The affidavits “explain the unique ways in which [the homeowner and business owner] will be harmed by the issuance of the special use permits,” he said.
Village of Jamesport is a 42,000-square-foot shopping center proposed for 10 acres on the north side of Main Road in Jamesport, across from the Elbow Room restaurant. The applicant, Jul-Bet Enterprises, is headed by Julius Klein, who also owns Dollar Storage in Calverton.
The property owner, Jamesport Development LLC, of which Jul-Bet Enterprises is 50 percent owner, also owns the adjacent 40 acres north of the 10 acres slated for development, and has proposed a housing development there in the past.
The affidavits filed with the new lawsuit came from both Tom and Anne Kowalsik, who live next to the proposed development on Main Road, and Cliff Saunders III, whose family owns Cliff’s Elbow Room restaurant, which is right across the street from the development site.
“Due to the proximity of my home to the proposed project I will be impacted by the sounds, smells and other impacts associated with the construction and operation of the proposed project to a greater degree than the general public,” Mr. Kowalsik’s affidavit states.
His home would border the east and north by the project.
Mr. Saunders’ affidavit states the proposed development would increase traffic, noise, congestion and emissions and doesn’t have enough parking, which would lead to customers taking parking spaces that his customers would otherwise use.
“The environmentally intensive land uses permitted under the unlawful Special Use Permits pose an immediate threat both to the operation of my restaurant and the character of the area,” Mr. Saunders wrote.
Town Board members have argued that had the special permits allowing two bistros and two professional offices not been granted, the applicant was still permitted to build additional retail in their stead, and the project would have had the same square footage.
The rest of the project calls for retail uses.
Opponents of the plan say that allowing bistros would increase traffic, sewage, noise, and odors. The property’s “rural corridor” zoning, which allows bistros and professional offices only as special permit uses, otherwise allows retail stores fronting Main Road, antique stores and craft shops, museums, libraries and schools, places of worships, agriculture, parks and playgrounds and single family or two-family houses.
“The intent of the Rural Corridor (RLC) Zoning Use District is to allow a very limited range of roadside shops and services that are compatible with the agricultural and rural setting along major arterial roads,” the town code states.
Mr. Simms said the original lawsuit did explain that members of Save Main Road who own nearby homes or businesses would be directly and negatively impacted by the decision in affidavits filed with the case, although it did not identify them by name.
“We believe strongly that the court erred, missing the whole point of an action-oriented advocacy group like ours,” he said. “Requiring that individuals be identified would defeat a key purpose of forming such a group.”
Village at Jamesport is currently before the town Planning Board seeking site plan approval.
Read more in the March 28 News-Review.