Garsten Retail Center’s preliminary site plan approved for Route 58

Garsten Retail Center

The Riverhead Town Planning Board has granted preliminary site plan approval for a new retail shopping center proposed for Route 58 in Riverhead.

Riverhead Apple Honda owner Irwin Garsten plans to build a 60,000-square-foot development on a 12-acre lot between Riverhead Centre and the town highway department yard.

The Planning Board voted 3-2 in favor of approving Garsten Retail Center’s preliminary site plan, with Ed Densieski, George Nunnaro and Richard O’Dea voting yes.

Those board members said concerns raised about the project could be addressed before the final approval takes place.

Peter Danowski, the attorney for Mr. Garsten, has said his client has agreed to have access with the adjacent Riverhead Centre shopping center to the west, which would allow traffic to go back and forth between the two shopping centers without having to enter onto Route 58.

On Thursday, Planning Board chairman Stan Carey and board member Joe Baier cast dissenting votes against the preliminary site plan approval request.

“My feeling is that I’m not ready to move forward with this,” Mr. Carey said, citing landscaping and other issues.

He added he’s concerned about land clearing plans for the project and wants to avoid another controversial incident involving tree removal, such as the ongoing landscaping problems at the Costco property on Route 58.

Mr. Garsten’s development proposal will also require final subdivision approvals before it can be built, town officials said.

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Photo: Renderings by architect Robert Stromski of the proposed Garsten Retail Center. (Credit: File)