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Proposed Route 58 shopping center gets two-year extension from ZBA

Riverhead ZBA

A proposal to build a 38,000-square-foot shopping center on the site of the former Rolle Brothers property on Route 58 was given a two-year extension Thursday night for a series of previously approved Zoning Board of Appeals variances that were about to expire.

Riverhead Commons LLC, a company headed by developer Richard Israel, purchased the seven-acre property that was home to the Rolle Brothers farm equipment store in 2009 and demolished the remaining buildings.

In 2011, they first submitted an application to build a shopping center on the site, consisting of a restaurant and three retail stores.

The project received approval in Oct. 2014 for a zoning variance allowing the overall floor area to be less than the 50,000-square feet required in the “shopping center” zoning district and variances to all the setbacks from neighboring properties to be less than zoning requires.

But it still hasn’t received site plan approval from the town Planning Board, which is the next step in the process, and its ZBA approval from 2014 was due to expire at the end of the month.

“We’re still going through our site plan approval process,” Mr. Israel said Friday. “It’s just taking a little time. We’ve been pushing through our approval process on that piece for seven years.”

One restaurant and three retail stores is what the county health department will allow on the property, he said.

At this point, there are no specific tenants lined up for the site.

“We really haven’t even marketed it yet, because I can’t even tell a person when I can deliver it,” Mr. Israel said.

The Riverhead Planning is scheduled to discuss the site plan for Riverhead Commons at its 3 p.m. work session this Thursday, Oct. 3. The site plan shows three retail buildings of 21,904; 2,500; and 6,000 square feet each, with a 7,620-square foot restaurant with 250-seats. 

The ZBA vote to extend the prior approvals was unanimous and no one was present at a public hearing Thursday night.

The Rolle Brothers farm equipment store existed at that site for more than 50 years before closing in the early 2000s. The property was then sold to a company called 372 Jericho Corp, which sold it to Exxon Mobil in 2003.  Exxon Mobil sought to build a gas station and convenience store there in 2004, but the town Planning Board at the time urged the Town Board to reject the proposal, claiming there were too many gas stations in the area, and the application was later dropped.

Exxon Mobil sold the land to Richmond Realty, Mr. Israel’s company, in 2009.

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