Town opts against taking legal action against Stop & Shop, Peapod

The Riverhead Town Board did not authorize legal action against Stop & Shop as it discussed at last Thursday’s Town Board work session.

Instead the board pulled the resolution authorizing litigation and replaced it with one that authorized the hiring of a consultant to look into the ongoing noise violations generated by grocery delivery and pickup service Peapod.

Residents of Glenwood Village, a retirement community that abuts the Peapod operation, have raised complaints about the noise for 10 years, officials said.

At last Thursday’s work session, Councilwoman Jodi Gigio submitted a draft resolution for Tuesday’s regular meeting that would authorize the town to take legal action against Stop & Shop in State Supreme Court, which carries greater fines than Town Justice Court. Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith initially said the resolution was premature, saying they had a meeting scheduled with Stop & Shop to try and work out a solution.

Stop & Shop submitted a noise evaluation of the Peapod operation to the town last week. The study, done by VHB Engineering, described noise measurements at the site and proposed mitigation measures.

By Tuesday, Ms. Giglio’s stance had softened.

“I spoke to the supervisor today and we compromised in removing the litigation aspect of this resolution, but hiring a noise expect on behalf of the town to examine the noise and figure out a way to mitigate it,” Ms. Giglio said at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The revised resolution passed Tuesday night by a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Tim Hubbard absent. The town’s resolution “authorizes the retention of an acoustical consulting and engineering company to serve as an expert for the Town of Riverhead, as well as for the purpose of providing a sound/noise analysis, acoustical engineering, on-site sound analysis and/or acoustical recommendations and shall have discretion to pay such sums as may be necessary for such expert from the budgeted litigation account.”

Glenwood Village owner Brian Stark had urged the Town Board to vote on the resolution to authorize litigation last Thursday. He said his residents have complaints about the noise from Peapod for a decade and nothing has been done.

The delivery service creates noise from banging doors on deliveries, radios playing, people dropping crates and refrigeration units running, he said. The Town Board approved Stop & Shop in 2006 and the Town Planning Board later approached an amended site plan in 2007 to include an accessory delivery service.

Mr. Stark, who was not present at Tuesday’s meeting, said last Thursday that he believes Peapod is a warehouse and is not a permitted use in the site where the supermarket it located.

Stop & Shop said in press releases that its Riverhead site is one of five “warerooms” it has on Long Island, the others being East Northport, Medford, South Setauket and Farmingdale. Those five warerooms service all of Long Island, according to Stop & Shop.

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