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Peconic Crossing project scaled back slightly to ease fire concerns

Peconic Crossing Rendering

A proposed 48-unit affordable apartment complex on West Main Street will be reduced in size to comply with a request from the Riverhead Fire District to retain access behind the building.

However, a developer for the Peconic Crossing project said they will only do so if necessary.

Allen Handelman, the vice president of Conifer Real Estate Development, which is building the project in conjunction with the non-profit Community Development Corporation of Long Island, told the Riverhead Planning Board Thursday that they will only reduce the size of the building if that is imposed as a condition to their site plan approval.

Mr. Handelman estimated the building reduction would result in three to six fewer units.

Mr. Handelman took the same stance on the Planning Board’s request that Conifer replace a bulkhead along the river, a project Conifer’s engineering consultant estimates will cost about $180,000.

The proposed apartment complex would give preference to artists.  The project would feature a common area for arts and a balcony overlooking the Peconic River that could be used for art events. The project has received $5.49 million in state grants.

Conifer’s original design showed the building stretching to the Peconic River, which would close off access to cars behind the building.

Currently, cars can enter a roadway behind the building going from the Maryhaven building on the west to Peconic Avenue on the east.

The Riverhead Fire Department objected to closing off that roadway, saying it would hinder its ability to fight a fire at the south portion of the apartments or adjacent properties.

Planning Board member Stan Carey, a Riverhead Fire Department member and former captain, said the utility lines on the western portion of the roadway are too low for fire trucks, and the department wanted access to be maintained from the east.

“We met in the middle and I believe the fire department is going to be happy with that,” Mr. Carey said.

Conifer and the Community Development Corporation plan to buy the existing Long Island Science Center building and replace it with the new building.

That sale is still pending as the Science Center seeks a new location. A similar 48-unit apartment project called Blue River Estates, under a different owner, had been proposed in the same West Main Street location but that developer pulled out and the Peconic Crossing project took its place.

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