Retail stores to be built next to Applebee’s in Riverhead

12/15/2014 10:00 AM |
A 7,200 sf retail building is proposed for this grass lot in Applebee's parking on Rt 58

A 7,200-square-foot retail building is proposed for this grass lot in the Applebee’s parking on Route 58. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

More stores appear headed to the west end of Route 58.

The owners of the property where Applebee’s restaurant is located are proposing to build a 7,200-square-foot retail building featuring two stores on what is now an undeveloped grass pad in the east end of Applebee’s parking lot.

Applicant SL Gateway II, LLC and UB Riverhead II, LLC, which have like ownership to the Applebee’s property and the adjacent Walmart and Bob’s Discount Furniture shopping center, are proposing retail stores of 4,200 and 3,000 square feet, respectively, in the new building.

The properties are both listed by New Jersey-based Lerner Properties.

According to Kimberly Judd, the attorney for the developers, the Applebee’s site plan for property was approved in 1999, when the land was zoned Industrial A. The site plan included the stores in the eastern pad and the developers proceeded to build the restaurant, the parking lot, the lights and all of the infrastructure.

The only thing never built were the stores.

In 2000, the town rezoned the property to Destination Retail Center zoning, which actually required larger stores than what was previously approved for the site.

As a result, the applicant needed to go to the Riverhead Town Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night to get variances to allow them to build less than what the zoning requires.

Under the DRC zoning, the minimum building size is 10,000 square feet, and the minimum store size is 3,500 square feet, which meant that the previously approved retail building no longer conformed with zoning.

“What we’re asking for is more restrictive” than zoning allows, Ms. Judd said.

The application also required some ZBA variances to allow the side yard setbacks, which conformed under Industrial A back in 1999 but not under DRC now, to be less that what zoning allows.

“The proposed variances are not substantial,” Ms. Judd told the ZBA Thursday. “We would have to rip up the parking and curbing otherwise.”

The ZBA approved the variances by a 4-0 vote, with ZBA member Frank Seabrook absent.

Asked afterward if there are any tenants lined up for the proposed new buildings, applicant Jason Lerner said, “None that we want to announce at this time.”

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