Assisted living group giving it another try in Riverhead

Suffolk County Planning Commission, Mill Road, Riverhead
The Concordia project had originally been planned for this Mill Road property. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The people behind Concordia Senior Communities have not given up on developing an assisted living facility in Riverhead and may soon return to with a slightly scaled down version of their original proposal. 

In 2011, the Melville-based company proposed a 189-unit facility for 25 acres on the east side of Mill Road, north of The Home Depot, but the project failed to gain support from a majority of Riverhead Town Board members.

In the wake of that proposal, the Town Board created a new Retirement Community zone but never voted to apply that zoning to the Mill Road property, which Concordia had planned to purchase.

The Suffolk County Planning Commission also opposed the new zone, which meant that four Town Board votes, instead of the usual three, were needed to override the county vote. At the time, only two Town Board members supported it. The number of units per acre Concordia was seeking for the project and the fact that it did not plan to use development rights transferred from farmland were among the reasons it lacked county support.

Last Wednesday, however, Concordia CEO Ronald DeVito was back at Town Hall to discuss the project with town officials.

Mr. DeVito said afterward that Concordia still hopes to proceed with the project, but will reduce the number of proposed units from 189 to 162. To secure permission for that many units, the company also plans to buy about nine transferred development rights credits from farmland, he said.

Farmers had complained that the number of units per acre sought in the original project should have required Concordia use transferred development rights from farms, and that by not doing so, the developer was undermining the TDR program, which is intended to preserve farmland.

“He told me that he decreased the density and added more affordability to the units,” said Supervisor Sean Walter, who met with Mr. DeVito last week.

Mr. Walter and Councilman John Dunleavy were the only board members to support the original Concordia proposal.

“We have no assisted living facilities in this town,” Mr. Walter said.

Mr. Dunleavy said he also spoke with Mr. DeVito last Wednesday.

“Nothing is going to happen for at least a year,” he said, indicating that Mr. DeVito has not formally submitted a revised plan.

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