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Clock ticking for owners of former Court House Restaurant

Court House Rest inspection

The dilapidated former Court House Restaurant on Griffing Avenue and Railroad Street, which has been vacant for more than 15 years, won’t be coming down until at least the end of September, officials said at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session.

Deputy Town Attorney Dan McCormick said he and town fire marshall Craig Zitek met with a representative for the building’s owners on Aug. 12 and gave them a month to “remedy” the situation and make the building safe.

After Sept. 12, if the building is still not made safe, the Town Board can call a public hearing to have it demolished at the expense of the owners, who officials say is Lyle Pike of Southampton. Another option is require the owner to secure the building or for the town to do so itself. A public hearing requires a notice published two weeks in advance.

Town officials have said they’d like to see the building demolished.

The town fire marshals inspected the building on June 4 and later wrote a report that town officials say concluded the building was not safe. Officials said the roof of the building has holes.

The building was built more than 125 years ago and has operated under a number of name, including J.P. Michael’s, Klein’s Court House restaurant and most recently, the Court House Restaurant.

Photo Caption: Riverhead fire marshals conducted an interior inspection of the long dormant restaurant in June. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)