10/29/13 12:43pm
10/29/2013 12:43 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Designs for a sign that was approved for The All Star.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Designs for a sign that was approved for The All Star.

After a few trips up to the plate, The All Star finally drove home a plan for a sign in front of its building.

The Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals approved the bowling alley/restaurant’s request for a new sign last Thursday night after the applicant withdrew all of its previous requests for variances and just went with a sign that meets town code.

“We’ve caved in on everything else,” said Chris Smith, one of the owners of the business.

The All Star, which does not have the word “bowling” in its name, had originally sought variances to have a sign that the town said was 96 square feet, instead of the maximum permitted size of 32 square feet.

All Star owner Jeff Rimland said that sign, which was a large bowling pin and bowling ball, was not being measured corrected by the town because the town was including “air” around the ball and pin toward the 96 square-foot calculation.

The All Star’s original ZBA application also sought variances to allow the sign to be 16 feet high, instead of the maximum height of 15 feet permitted by the Town Code, and they also sought to have a phone number on the sign, which the town also doesn’t allow.

Mr. Smith told the ZBA at earlier meetings that they wanted a sign that would let people know it’s a bowling alley, because they think people don’t realize that. But at the same time, they have said they don’t want to put the word “bowling” in their name, because there are other things at the site, too, like a restaurant and game room.

Their last request was to have a sign with removable letters, so they could change the message for different occasions like Christmas or New Year’s Day, Mr. Smith said.

He said there are a number of similar signs on the same road with removable letters.

Those signs existed before zoning, and as such, are allowed to stay, ZBA member Otto Wittmeier said.

“But they are all over the place,” Mr. Smith said.

“We just can’t condone something that’s wrong and isn’t being enforced by code enforcement,” ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin responded.

But after whispering among themselves at last Thursday’s meeting, ZBA attorney Scott DeSimone eventually came back with a decision that said that “a sign with removable letters is not prohibited” by the town code.

The ZBA voted 4-0 to approve the sign allowing removable letters, with ZBA member Leroy Barnes absent.

08/03/13 10:00am
08/03/2013 10:00 AM
The proposed sign at The All-Star, which would have featured a large bowling ball and pin on top.

The proposed sign at The All-Star, which would have featured a large bowling ball and pin on top.

To the Editor:

I read in total disbelief in the News-Review the problems the owners of The All-Star bowling center are having over a sign including a bowling ball and pin. Their planned sign is one foot over the 15-foot limit? The square footage is more than allowed, including the air space when the town boxed in the sign? Are you kidding me? Here is a business that is giving the residents of our area wholesome recreational activity in a bright, clean, new and exciting environment.

Some members of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition are urging the Zoning Board of Appeals not to approve the variance for this sign, and their vice president, Phil Barbato, stated that this area is “becoming Jericho Turnpike all over again. It is creeping east.” Where in the heck has he been? It has already crept east years ago. Starting with the late Joe Janoski and right up until Sean Walter, each supervisor has made sure that all the variances and zoning changes that these major shopping centers needed were approved.

The nature and peacefulness of Riverhead has been desecrated already. I had the opportunity to be in the Foxwood Village community several weeks ago and I was totally appalled at the view between the homes in the community to the clear-cut land behind them for Walmart and whatever else is going in there. Not one tree left standing. I did see this before, but from the view of Route 58, and I was actually sickened by the leveling of the land. Did any one of these developers need a variance? Of course all you have to do is look across the street and see more land cleared for more stores. Of course there also is the clear-cutting of the northeast corner of Northville Turnpike and Route 58 for an office building. Will this ruination ever end?

Several weeks ago in the News-Review, Mr. Walter said something to the effect that going forward the town will make a big effort to leave trees when these projects are developed. I cannot believe that there is anymore land available to develop or many trees left to save.

For heaven’s sake, give the bowling alley the variance it needs for a bowling ball and pin. Or are they easier to push around compared to Costco and Walmart? Compared to all that has gone on for over two decades, what the bowling alley is asking for is minutia.

Marsha Kipperman, Riverhead

07/27/13 12:00pm
07/27/2013 12:00 PM

The proposed sign at The All-Star, which would have featured a large bowling ball and pin on top.

The All Star’s request for a new sign consisting of a large bowling bowl and pin is going back for revisions.

At a public hearing Thursday night, the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals told the applicants to revisit the town’s Architectural Review Board and come back with a sign the ARB approves.

The All Star, on Route 25 in Riverhead, just west of County Road 105, is seeking variances from the ZBA to allow the sign, which would exceed town size requirements.

The All Star’s name doesn’t include the word “bowling” in it, because the owners want it to be known as more than a bowling alley, they said. But they also feel people driving by don’t recognize that it is a bowling alley.

The All Star had originally sought an electronic sign with moving images, but withdrew that due to community opposition, before any hearings were held. Two weeks ago The All Star came back to the ZBA with a proposal for a large bowling ball and pin on a pedestal. That plan was redesigned to remove the phone number and include the alley’s logo.

Chris Smith, one of The All Star’s owners, said they need a sign that will tell people they’re a bowling alley.

“People drive by and they think it’s a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall or something,” he said. “It doesn’t look like what it is.”

The planning department has measured the proposed bowling ball and pin as being 96 square feet, well over the 32-square-foot maximum allowed by the Town Code and therefore requiring a ZBA variance.

But Mr. Smith disagreed with town’s measurement method. He said the town is just drawing an imaginary box around the proposed structure, which would include “the air around it” as part of the square footage.

He claims the proposed sign is 32 square feet. He said two weeks ago that the bowling pin would be six feet high and would sit on a 10-foot pedestal, with the ball next to it.

The proposed new sign ran into opposition from the ARB and from some residents who spoke at Thursday’s hearing for a variance of the town’s requirements.

“I’m glad the bowling alley is there, I wish them success, but we don’t need a sign that’s two or three times bigger than what the law allows,” said resident Nancy Dillingham. “When they built it, they knew the law.”

“I commend them on finishing the building and opening the business. It looks really nice the way it is,” said Andrea Hanulec, who lives across the street from The All Star. “But I would really hate to see an eyesore of a sign on the road. I consider us the beginning of the North Fork where we are and I would hate to see it marching on, the kind of things that are going on to the west of us.”

Mr. Smith agreed with Ms. Hanulec’s assessment of the North Fork.

But he said the sign they’re seeking is not large in the context of the property’s size.

Richard Searles, chairman of the town’s Architectural Review Board, said the ARB had some issues with the proposed sign.

“We didn’t think it conformed to what we’d like to see at that particular site,” he said. “We’d like to see something different, other than what he proposed.”

ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin suggested The All Star go back to the ARB and come up with a sign the ARB likes before coming back to the ZBA.

ZBA voted to continue the hearing on Aug. 27 after the ARB makes a recommendation.

tgannon@timesreview.com

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