Developer’s ‘Knightland’ vision wins Planning Board approval

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | A model of the Knightland shopping complex.

With little fanfare, the Riverhead Town Planning Board approved developer Kenn Barra’s proposed Knightland commercial complex application Thursday.

The proposal would replace the existing beverage store at the corner of Route 25A and Sound Avenue in Wading River with a new shopping center consisting of 24 retail buildings totaling 32,518 square feet of retail and a 4,928-square-foot restaurant.

Knightland is one of four recent commercial proposals in Wading River that led civic and environmental organizations to call for a new study of the zoning along Route 25A, and a moratorium barring the processing of those applications until the study is done.

The Town Board has agreed to do a new study of the zoning and uses on the Route 25A corridor in Wading River, but it did not agree to declare a moratorium.

Dominique Mendez, the president of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, which was one of the organizations calling for the moratorium, was present during Thursday’s planning board vote, but did not speak.

No one from any of the other groups that sought the referendum was present during the 3 p.m. meeting.

Mr. Barra also was present but did not speak.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The potential future site of Kenn Barra's Knightland at the corner of Sound Avenue and Route 25A in Wading River.

“We just look forward to starting construction as soon as we can and employing people,” said Peter Danowski, the attorney for Knightland, following the vote. “There obviously will be employment during construction, and just like the East Wind building, which Mr. Barra built, this will be a real plus for the town and really attractive.”

He said construction will probably start in the spring.

“This is absolutely consistent with the zoning and the master plan, where the town specifically wanted this village theme of small buildings, and encouraged that,” Mr. Danowski continued. “In this district in Wading River, you cant put big box stores up. This will be consistent with that and will create a great feel for the entry into the town.”

The Planning Board vote was unanimous, with the exception of Lou Boschetti, who was absent.

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