TIM GANNON PHOTO | The Saber Riverhead project is under construction on land just east of Riverhead Raceway on Route 58.
Just as it was revealed that a Five Guys Burgers and Fries would be coming to Riverhead, issues arose during a Planning Board meeting last week about a promised sound wall at the Route 58 shopping center the popular burger joint will call home.
The main issue with the wall is that — well, so far there is no wall.
Back in October, Saber Riverhead, developer of the 122,000-square-foot shopping center being built on the south side of Route 58, agreed to build a sound wall to prevent construction noise from disturbing residents at the nearby Glenwood Village senior community.
That concession came at the insistence of Glenwood Village owner Brian Stark and several residents , and was part of the project’s site plan approval.
The agreed-upon wall was to cover a 200-foot stretch along the eastern part of Saber’s property and would be about 10- to 12 feet high, according to Saber Riverhead attorney Charles Cuddy of Riverhead.
But 10 months later, with the stores are already under construction, the wall still hasn’t been built.
“If you remember the conversation we had [in October], we wanted the wall up so the neighbors wouldn’t have to live through all this noise,” Planning Board member Ed Densieski told Rick Decola, a representative of developer Martin Berger.
“I was ready with the wall,” Mr. Decola responded. “I was all set to go.”
He said it was Mr. Stark who halted the process, because he wanted a different-looking fence to go up instead.
“What is his official capacity in this?” Mr. Densieski asked.
Planning Board officials then lectured Mr. Decola that it’s the board that dictates the wall, not a neighbor, such as Mr. Stark.
Mr. Decola and Mr. Cuddy explained that the neighbors for whom the wall is being built aren’t complaining about the delay and neither is Mr. Stark.
Mr. Stark, who did not attend the Planning Board meeting, confirmed in a later interview that he had asked for the new design, figuring that it was better to do the wall right, at the expense of a little more time.
“The design we wanted was like a pre-cast fence,” he said. “It was a little nicer aesthetically.”
Mr. Stark also confirmed he hasn’t heard complaints from his residents about noise from the construction of the new shopping center.
“In fact, some residents say the buildings that have gone up have actually helped mitigate noise from the racetrack on Saturday nights,” he said.
Mr. Decola said the wall will be the same dimensions as agreed to in October, but will have a different look.
Mr. Stark said today, Friday, that workers have started on a berm but he didn’t expect the wall to built until September.
Though the Planning Board members voiced concern that the change in the wall’s design was made without their input, they eventually voted to approve an amended site plan for Saber Riverhead by a vote of 4-0, with board member Lyle Wells absent.
The major change to the site plan involved adding the Five Guys restaurant, which will be located near the front of the shopping center, near a Starbucks. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops, Buffalo Wild Wings, Aldi and Five Below will all be located toward the back.
Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to open in October, with Dick’s and Christmas Tree Shops following in November, Mr. Decola said.