Planning Board OKs plans for Hydrant Hotel, Dodge, Knightland

A doggie daycare facility, a plan to sell cars from a former batting cage site and a newly constructed restaurant at a shopping center in Wading River all received approvals from the Riverhead Town Planning Board Thursday night.

• Hydrant Hotel, a proposed 8,000-square foot daycare, boarding the grooming facility for dogs and cats on Raynor Avenue, received final site plan approval from the Planning Board Thursday night. The plan calls for renovating a vacant building on the east side of Raynor Avenue, just south of Apple Honda. The building has been used for potato storage, as an auto body shop and by Newsday in the past.

Anthony and Rebecca Pollina of Riverhead say Hydrant Hotel will be similar to another business they own on Route 48 in Southold called DogTown. The Riverhead proposal was met with no opposition during a public hearing in December, although the Planning Board did require them to install a sidewalk in the front of the property.

• Riverhead Dodge received approval to be able to sell cars off the former site of Out East Family Fun prior to building a new facility on that Route 58 property. Riverhead Dodge has long been located on West Main Street, where it is one of the few Riverhead car dealers not on Route 58. Last November year the company purchased the Out East site with plans to move its dealership there.

However, while the company awaits site plan and other town approvals for the project, which could take up to two years, a request was made to make minor changes to the existing Out East site in order to sell cars from that lot in the interim.

The company plans to use the existing office building on the 130,000 square foot property as a sales office and to keep cars on the parking lot portion of the former recreation facility. The batting cages, water rides and mini-golf will all be removed from the property.

The Planning Board approval requires Riverhead Dodge to submit a site plan for the overall project, which proposes a new 26,000 square foot building, within three months. The temporary use of the recreation facility also will need a building permit, officials said.

• Knightland Village, a proposed shopping center with 24 retail buildings totaling 35,518 square feet on the corner of Route 25A and Sound Avenue, had received site plan approval on Dec. 15, 2011, despite opposition at the time from the nonprofit Riverhead Neighbor Preservation Coalition, which had unsuccessfully challenged the approval in court.

The overall plan called for renovating an existing beverage store building into a restaurant. However, when work started, the applicants decided a better plan would be to demolish the beverage store and seek approval for a new building for the restaurant, according to Knightland attorney Peter Danowski.

Plans for a new restaurant were approved on Thursday night.