Town to developer: Keep those trees alive or we will

Dead trees on the site of Costco on Route 58. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
Dead trees spotted at the Shops at Riverhead retail center on Route 58. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The developer of the Shops at Riverhead retail center on Route 58 will be required to post a $100,000 bond to ensure dead trees surrounding the property are replaced, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio confirmed this week.

The developer, Brixmor Property Group, is expected to plant new trees and the town will inspect them next year, she said, adding the town will use the bond to redo the work if the trees don’t survive.

The Planning Board had required the developer to plant trees along the east and northern border of the shopping center, but many trees along the northern boundary have since died.

Robert Hall, who lives in the adjacent Foxwood Village development, recently said he’s displeased with the shopping center’s landscaping.

“It looks like a war zone with all those dead trees,” he said.

Costco is currently the shopping center’s only tenant, owns the property where its store is located and isn’t responsible for the dead trees, officials have said.

Brixmor has been operating with a temporary certificate of occupancy since it opened in June. That’s set to expire at the end of November, Ms. Giglio said.

Although the town could use the CO as leverage in the dispute over the trees, Ms. Giglio said it isn’t likely that the town would order the shopping center — and Costco — to shut down due to the tree issue and believes the CO will be extended.

The temporary CO can legally be extended a total of 18 months, town planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree said.

Peter Danowski, the attorney for Brixmor, told the Planning Board two weeks ago that they will comply with whatever amount the town seeks as a bond.

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