A developer looking to build a five-story, mixed-use apartment project in downtown Riverhead has requested a 30-year property tax abatement from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency.
During the Riverhead IDA’s public hearing Monday night, Georgica Green Ventures president David Gallo highlighted his company’s background and scope of the project, as well as funding sources, and pointed to its approved projects around the state and other efforts to construct sustainable buildings.
“Our request within an IDA is important,” Mr. Gallo said. “Quite frankly, it’s impossible to succeed without it.”
“It’s not like we have a choice,” he added.
The proposed $50 million apartment building, which is planned for East Main Street, includes 116 workforce housing units, Mr. Gallo said.
A handful of residents raised concerns about Mr. Gallo’s tax abatement request and the building proposal.
Ian Lyons, director of Clinical Care Solutions, said he believes downtown will become a ghost town if small businesses shutter as a result of parking issues.
Although he’s in favor of downtown development, Mr. Lyons said he doesn’t believe the proposal, which includes 55 parking spaces, is “sustainable nor feasible with the number of units versus the number of parking spots.”
Mr. Lyons added he believes the request “is not worthy” of the IDA’s consideration at this point if the proposal doesn’t include a parking space for each apartment unit.
Larry Simms of South Jamesport noted the IDA typically grants 10-year tax abatements — not 30 — and called for a cost-benefit analysis of the project. In addition, he said he believes the IDA should determine what the investment will be worth to the town, as well as a re-evaluation of payments in lieu of taxes.
Democratic supervisor candidate Laura Jens-Smith said while affordable housing is needed in Riverhead, she believes the IDA should consider whether the town could sustain a 30-year tax abatement. In addition, she questioned if the tax abatement would be applied to the building’s first floor where a commercial space is planned.
The IDA will wait until the Riverhead Town Board completes the required environmental review process before voting on the 30-year tax abatement request.
Photo: Georgica Green Ventures president David Gallo shows a rendering of the proposed apartment building at Monday’s Riverhead IDA meeting. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)