03/23/13 4:00pm
03/23/2013 4:00 PM
Mattituck Starbucks

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A customer enters Starbucks in Mattituck Tuesday morning.

Riverhead Town is getting a second Starbucks.

But instead of being buried hundreds of yards in the armpit of Tanger 2, as the existing one is, it will be right along Route 58.

And, it will offer drive-through service.

The Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a town code interpretation that will allow the proposed location to have a drive-through window, so people can get coffee without getting out of their cars.

The new Starbucks is planned for the Saber Riverhead shopping center, just east of River-head Raceway. The 122,000-square-foot shopping center, which is currently under construction, will also include a Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops, ALDI discount supermarket, Five Below store, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, according to the applicant, Martin Berger.

The complex received site plan approval from the town Planning Board in October, and the Town Board granted an excavating permit earlier this year. Excavation work has commenced.

“Starbucks’ new prototype is to have drive-through windows,” said Charles Cuddy, the applicant’s attorney. The proposed drive-through window will not exit onto Route 58, but will instead exit within the shopping center parking lot, he said.

The question before the ZBA last Thursday was whether a drive-through window was a use that is “customarily incidental” to a Starbucks restaurant in the Business Center zone in which the 13-acre Saber Riverhead project is located.

The application refers to Starbucks, which sells food and coffee, as a restaurant, although both restaurants and cafes are permitted uses in the BC zone. The BC zone also specifies drive-through windows for banks and pharmacies as permitted accessory uses.

Mr. Cuddy came to last Thursday’s ZBA meeting armed with a three-page memo and three Starbucks’ representatives to support his argument that a drive-through window should be considered accessory to a Starbucks restaurant. He said there are some zones in the town code that specifically prohibit drive-through windows, such as in downtown Riverhead, but that the BC zone is not one of them.

But Mr. Cuddy didn’t even need to make his argument.

“We really don’t have any issues with this,” ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin said as Mr. Cuddy was about to have a Starbucks’ representative testify.

Scott DiSimone, the ZBA’s attorney, agreed.

“Fifteen years ago, the question was, similarly, was a convenience store an accessory use to a gas station?” Mr. DiSimone said. “That’s now become commonplace. I would say that’s a similar situation with Starbucks and other similar types of businesses in that use [drive-through windows]. I believe it to be a customary, incidental accessory use.”

The ZBA unanimously approved the code interpretation.

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08/16/12 10:29pm
08/16/2012 10:29 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A Christmas Tree Shops store is part of the proposed shopping center on Route 58 in Riverhead.

A Starbucks coffee shop with a drive-through window, a Dick’s Sporting Goods store and a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant are among the tenants slated for a 121,746-square-foot shopping center proposed on Route 58 in Riverhead.

The stores would be built on a 13-acre parcel which has been the subject of extensive litigation involving its prior owner, Larry Oxman, who has been involved in legal battles with Riverhead Town since being accused of illegally clearing the land in 2004. Mr. Oxman lost the land to foreclosure last year.

The new owner, a company called Saber Riverhead LLC, is based in Armonk, N.Y. and headed by Martin Berger.

Their site plan shows a 45,916-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods store, a 36,389-square-foot Christmas Tree Shops store, a 16,495-square-foot ALDI supermarket, an 8,555-square-foot Five Below store, a 6,600-square-foot Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, and an 1,800-square-foot Starbucks, along with two smaller retail spots that have yet to be leased, according to Rick Decola, a representative for the applicant.

Ironically, the founder of ALDI is the brother of the founder of Trader Joe’s, a store that some Riverhead residents had formed a Facebook site to try and lure to Riverhead, without success.

The Saber Riverhead site plan calls for the demolition of a vacant real estate office toward the front of the property, where the Starbucks and a 1,500 retail store are proposed. The other stores would be located toward the back, or south part, of the property.

The applicants are proposing to build a berm on the adjacent Glenwood mobile home park property, in an agreement with the park, to screen the homes there from the development, Mr. Decola said.

The site plan also calls for a traffic light on Route 58 that will link with the proposed entrance of another proposed shopping center on the north side of Route 58.

That shopping center is called The Shops at Riverhead and would feature a Costco Wholesale Warehouse as its lead tenant.

Neither shopping center has town approvals yet.

The Saber Riverhead proposal was discussed at Thursday’s Riverhead Town planning board meeting, where one of the criticisms board members had was with the parking.

“This is a sea of parking,” said planning board chairman Richard O’Dea. “All you see here is parking and everything else is way in the back.”

“It’s like Target and Sports Authority all over again,” said planning board member Lyle Wells.

The site plan shows 596 parking spots, which is actually 30 fewer than what the town code requires. The applicants believe that with shared parking, they only need 350 spaces.

Mr. Decola said they have leases in place with all of the tenants they’ve named and have just two smaller spaces that have yet to be leased.

The planning board took no official action on the proposal, which will be revised to meet some of the suggestions made in a planning department report before coming back to the board. The Suffolk County Planning Commission had recommended a conditional approval of the application in December.

One of their recommendations suggested the town clarify the permitted use in the property’s Business Center zoning, which the commission said permits banks and retail stores but not “shopping centers.”

The county commission also recommended the applicant considering using transfer of development rights, in which applicants can buy development rights off of farmland that the town aims to preserve in order to use those rights to increase the amount of development permitted in a commercial zone.

The applicant is now proposing to buy to purchase about four or five development right credits in order to be built at the square footage proposed. An earlier site plan from the applicant showed only 118,650 square feet of development.

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