Bank and pharmacy proposed for vacant Calverton land

pharmacy and bank proposed for Calverton
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A pharmacy and bank is proposed for this parcel at the intersection of Route 25 and Edwards Avenue in Calverton.

A bank and 24-hour pharmacy could be coming to Edwards Avenue in Calverton — adding to what some say is a developing hamlet center — but only if Riverhead Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals allows the proposals to move forward.

Neither business is permitted on the property under current zoning.

A group called 1998 Peconic LLC, headed by developer Paul Elliott and Jim Miller of Miller Environmental, has proposed putting a 13,852-square-foot pharmacy and a 4,092-square-foot bank on the vacant 3.29-acre lot directly south of the now-closed Village Crossroads restaurant on Edwards Avenue.

Those same applicants built the gas station that sits between the restaurant property and the Riverhead Charter School on Route 25. Mr. Miller’s company is located farther south on Edwards Avenue.

To get such a variance, an applicant must show that none of the permitted uses are viable; that the hardship the applicant faces is unique and not “self-created;” and that the use would not adversely impact the surrounding area.

Chris Tartaglia of High Point Engineering, a representative of the applicant, said during a ZBA hearing on the variance application last Thursday night that the permitted uses — warehouses, lumberyards, agricultural protection — basically fall into two categories that require more land.

Charles Voorhis, a planner also representing the applicants, said the property is unique because it is surrounded by a school, deli, gas station and the shuttered restaurant.

In the past, permitted uses such as a lumberyard and more recently a propane storage facility have been proposed on the property and have met with opposition from the community and from Riverhead Charter School officials, Mr. Voorhis explained to the ZBA board members.

“We’ve pretty much exhausted the list of allowable uses on this district,” Mr. Voorhis said. “The only inquiries that have come forth have been by banks and pharmacies.”

The proposed uses would generate an estimated $73,000 in property taxes, $513,000 in sales tax and would create 50 construction jobs and 40 operational jobs, Mr. Voorhis said.

He said the property owners now pay about $22,000 in taxes, insurance and maintenance fees.

The proposed pharmacy would operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, while the bank office would be open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

The applicants have not publicly identified specific tenants for the sites.

Peconic LLC is proposing 128 parking spaces, which is more than the 98 required under the current zoning, and to allow the restaurant, should it reopen, to use part of its property for overflow parking.

Richard Israel, who runs the real estate company that owns the restaurant, voiced support for the proposed use variance. He said he is in negotiations with a potential tenant who would reopen the restaurant, which also is zoned industrially.

“We feel that the hamlet of Calverton has been growing ever since the Charter School came there,” Mr. Israel said. “We feel there’s more need to have more services there.”

He added, “I look forward to Calverton becoming a little mini-center. The industrial uses in that general area are kind of absurd. Maybe with changes and some variances, we can bring the neighborhood to where it should be, as a little community center.”
The ZBA adjourned its hearing until March 24.

Mr. Elliott said he will present his plans to the Greater Calverton Civic Association on March 10.

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