Over 75 letters sent in opposition to assisted living facility

Concordia map

The Riverhead Town Clerk’s office has received 76 letters opposing a proposed assisted living project on a 25-acre parcel that Concordia Senior Communities is in contract to buy. The land in question wraps from Mill Road to Middle Road, just north of Home Depot in Riverhead.

The letters — many of which express the same concerns — are mostly from residents of Foxwood Village, a senior community located just west of the proposed project.

Concordia is seeking a zone change from Agricultural Protection to Retirement Community in order to construct a 123,000-square-foot building comprising 48 independent 65-and-over living units and 114 assisted living units. The project would still require additional future approvals in order to be built.

At a public hearing in February, the project and zone change met widespread opposition, mainly due to the proposal’s size and because it would be built on land that is zoned Agricultural Protection, even though that land hasn’t been actively farmed for many years.

The letters received at the Town Clerk’s office address similar issues.

“Allowing a commercial facility to be built on this parcel of agricultural protected land sets a dangerous and porous precedent that could allow future applicants to proliferate attempts to similarly rezone and develop additional protected land,” many of the letters state. “Moreover, this type of development would place a significant burden on area resources and negatively impact the quality of life for local residents.”

Aside from Town Councilman John Dunleavy, who has vigorously supported the assisted living project, it’s uncertain if any other Town Board members support it at the proposed location. Ironically, Mr. Dunleavy lives in Foxwood Village.

Town Supervisor Sean Walter has called the project “an incremental approach to taking farmland with prime soils out of production.” He has urged Concordia to move the project to Riverside, where a recent planning study has called for assisted living.

However, Concordia CEO Ronald DeVito said development in Riverside can’t take place until sewer district improvements are made — something that could take years to accomplish.

Photo: A map showing the location of the proposed assisted living center. (Credit: Tim Gannon)