Construction for a renovated Peconic Paddler could begin this fall after the Southampton Town Planning Board approved a pre-submission map for the first phase of the project last Thursday. Co-owner Tom Fredette said the next step is filing construction plans, which are expected to take around two months to review.
The original plan for the property has been scaled back — at least until it can be connected to a sewage treatment plant. Instead of building a four-and-a-half story, 100-room hotel with a restaurant and bar on the top floor, Mr. Fredette said, they will start with just a restaurant and the existing Peconic Paddler kayak and canoe business.
“We can build this without connecting to sewage treatment,” he said in an interview last Tuesday.
Mr. Fredette said he and co-owner James Svendsen have had discussions with Conner Vigliotta, who owns Flo’s Luncheonette in Patchogue and Floasis in Blue Point, about running the restaurant.
“We’re trying to do that same outdoor experience as [Flo’s], with on-the-park dining,” he said.
No agreement had been finalized with Flo’s, which dates back to 1926 and the original stand in Bayport.
The Phase I plans submitted by the partners call for a 2,618-square-foot, 28-seat restaurant and a 1,212-square-foot building for kayak and canoe rentals and sales.
Phase II of the plan will involve the construction of the hotel on land that will be used as parking for Phase I.
The applicants had originally sought to convince Riverhead Town to allow them to connect to the Riverhead Town sewage treatment plant, which is adjacent to the Peconic Paddler, while would have allowed the more extensive plan to to move forward.
In March, however, some members of the Riverhead Town Board and the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association opposed that idea, saying that available sewer capacity should be reserved for Riverhead development projects.
“Our downtown and the area surrounding the train station are not at full build-out and sewer capacity should be prioritized for development within these areas,” BIDMA president Steve Shauger wrote in a letter to the Riverhead Town Board at the time.
He added: “The BIDMA would like to see Riverside move in a positive direction, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of downtown Riverhead and our revitalization efforts.”
Mr. Fredette said they hope to try one more time with Riverhead before giving up on that option. He said he has yet to meet with the BIDMA to discuss their concerns.
Another option that would allow the hotel to proceed would be to wait until Southampton Town completes construction of a new sewage treatment system meant to serve the Riverside area. Southampton officials has said earlier this year that they would have that plant running in 2020. The plant would be located in the industrial park at what was once the Flanders Drive-In.
The partners also own property on Route 104 that was intended as parking space for the Peconic Paddler, but Mr. Fredette said that won’t be needed for Phase I.