Vote on Route 58 restaurant delayed, again

Riverhead, Taco Bell, Nathan's Famous, Route 58
TIM GANNON PHOTO | A two-story restaurant is being proposed for a sliver of land between the Route 58 Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue.

The developer planning to build a 24-seat, 3,200-square foot restaurant on three-tenths of an acre between the Route 58 Taco Bell and Harrison Avenue will have to wait again before the Riverhead Planning Board makes a decision on application.

The Planning Board on Thursday postponed its vote to a future meeting after the board ended in a 2-2 tie, with board member Lyle Wells absent.

At its previous meeting, they postponed the vote for two weeks because newly-appointed member Stan Carey, in his first meeting, wanted to get more information before voting.

And two weeks before that, the vote was postponed the vote because board member Ed Densieski was absent, and the vote ended up tied 2-2.

Mr. Densieski and Mr. Carey both voted against the application on Thursday, while Planning Board chairman Richard O’Dea and vice-chair Joe Baier voted for it.

Mr. Wells, who was absent last Thursday, voted against the application a month ago.

The applicant, Guddha LLC, headed by Chuck Chockalingam of Westhampton Beach, acquired the property in tax default from Suffolk County, and has been trying to develop it with a restaurant for more than eight years.

The property is zoned Business Center, which requires at least a half-acre to build, but Mr. Chockalingam claims that since it’s a single and separate lot that was created in 1950, prior to the advent of zoning, he is permitted to build on it.

Mr. Densieski said he strongly believes in people’s property rights, but added, “Putting a restaurant there is the epitome of poor planning.”

Mr. Carey said he reviewed the site plan and sat in the Walgreens parking for 20 minutes observing traffic at the site, which he said was stacking up on a Saturday morning where the proposed entrance to the restaurant would be.

“I really couldn’t get past how that building was going to fit on that property,” Mr. Carey said in voting against the proposed the restaurant.

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