Food and Drink

Riverhead ZBA lawyer: Consider Sound Avenue microbrewery rejected

TIM GANNON PHOTO | The former Northville School House on Sound Avenue.

So if a resolution to reject something gets two votes out of three on a board that is supposed to have five members, is that thing rejected?

And if it’s not, is it approved?

Those were some of the questions floating around after Thursday’s Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, which a shorthanded board voted 2-1 in favor of a resolution rejecting the McCarthy’s on the Green application to operate a microbrewery at the site of the Old Northville School House on Sound Avenue.

The ZBA, which normally has five members, has one vacancy, and one member, Leroy Barnes, recused himself from the vote, leaving only three voting members.

ZBA members Fred McLaughlin and Otto Wittmeier voted yes, which means yes to rejecting the application, while ZBA member Frank Seabrook voted no, which means no to rejecting the application.

After the meeting was over and ZBA attorney Scott DeSimone had left, some residents who opposed the application, including former town Councilman George Bartunek and former Riverhead School Board member Angela DeVito, questioned whether the ZBA had really rejected the application, since the resolution to reject it did not get a three-vote majority.

Mr. DeSimone cleared up the confusion in a phone interview Friday mooring.

“A resolution to approved something would need three votes,” he said. “But a resolution to reject something does not. It only needs a majority of the members who voted in order to pass.”

Therefore, he said, the microbrewery is rejected.

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