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Riverhead Town settles condemnation case; ordered to pay $275,000

Riverhead Town Board members agreed Tuesday to settle a lawsuit stemming from the 2009 condemnation of about one-third of an acre off Route 58 that was needed as part of the realignment of Route 58, Pulaski Street and Mill Road.

The settlement calls for the town to pay an additional $275,000 to James Wilson II and Cindy Ann Wilson, whose family owned the property that’s now across the street from the entrance to the Riverhead Centre shopping center.

The town acquired the property through condemnation, also known as eminent domain, a process in which the town convinced a condemnation judge that the land was needed for a greater public purpose. Under eminent domain, the cost of the property is determined by the court after the land is transferred.

In this case, the town forwarded $615,000 to the Wilson family, who had filed a notice of claim seeking $3.125 million for the land.

Under the settlement, both sides agreed to a price of $890,000, meaning the town still owed $275,000.

Before the road realignment, which was done by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Pulaski Street intersected with Mill Road, which then intersected with Route 58, creating a three-way intersection that officials said was dangerous. Now, Pulaski Street turns north onto the former Wilson property and aligns with the entrance to Riverhead Center.

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