Jamesport project clears major hurdle

The developer of a proposed 42,000-square-foot shopping center in Jamesport, which ran into opposition from residents in 2008, has now completed the environmental impact study that was required by the Riverhead Town Board, and a findings statement adopted by the board Tuesday indicates that the project would have little impact on traffic, community character or virtually any of the things residents initially complained about.

It also states that impacts from odor and noise generated by the project could be mitigated.

“The action is one which avoids or minimizes adverse impacts to the maximum extent practicable,” the town’s findings statement says of the project.

The application from Jul-Bet Enterprises, called Village at Jamesport, calls for construction of 10 buildings totaling about 42,000 square feet on a 9.7-acre property north of Route 25, across from the Elbow Room and west of Manor Road. The proposal calls for 17,000 square feet of retail, which is a permitted use under the site’s Rural Corridor zoning. However, it also calls for two 4,000-square-foot bistro buildings and 17,000 square feet of professional offices, both uses that require a special permit approval from the Town Board.

Developer Julius Klein said he first proposed the project eight years ago and the study the town required has taken almost four years.

The adoption of the findings statement means the study is done. The next steps would be for the Town Board to rule on the special permit application, then for the Planning Board to rule on the overall site plan application, Mr. Klein said.

Some of the reasons residents’ gave for opposing the project during a 90-minute public hearing in January 2008 included the potential for traffic, noise, odors, impact on drainage and claims that it would be out of character with the community and that the proposed businesses weren’t needed.

“We don’t believe it’s suitable because of the scale and the size,” Georgette Keller, president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association, said at that hearing.

The town’s findings statement says the proposed use would create only a “marginal” (6.2 percent) increase in traffic and would require a 10 percent increase in parking spaces. The findings — which is prepared in response to the study — also says the bistros could have an impact on noise and suggests that this could be mitigated by requiring mechanical equipment and live music to be indoors, and requiring that deliveries be made only between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. The bistros also could create odors, which could be mitigated by exhaust systems and by siting the bistro buildings as far from homes as possible.

The statement says the project’s water and sewage impacts would be the same as if no specially permitted uses were sought.

As for the impact on the community character, it states that the proposal to have bistros is in keeping with the master plan for this area, which recommends sit-down restaurants and cafes in downtown Jamesport.

Ms. Keller could not immediately be reached for comment on the town’s action Tuesday.

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