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Town Board may add deadlines to site plan applications

Riverhead Town officials are considering a code change that would allow pending site plan applications to be deemed “abandoned” after six months of inactivity.

Under the proposal, applicants at each stage of the site plan process would have six months to address issues raised by the planning department before the project is automatically deemed abandoned.

Planning and building staff would be required to notify the applicant in writing 30 days prior to an impending expiration, according to the proposed legislation.

Officials had been concerned about applications that “seemed to languish,” according to Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz.

The only speaker during a public hearing on the matter Wednesday was the town’s building and planning administrator Jefferson Murphree, who said the legislation is needed.

He cited a pending subdivision application that has been on his shelf for approximately two years.

Despite correspondence with the applicants’ attorney, no progress has been made.

“If I had this legislation, I could just throw the application out,” he said.

At a work session last month, Mr. Murphree noted that applicants would be able to respond and request additional time, if they are being delayed by other regulatory processes.

“One application, it took them 18 months to get through the health department,” he said at the work session. “They should not be penalized.”

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said during the Town Board meeting that if adopted, the code should be attached to all blank site plan applications. “When people come in and file site plan applications, [it should be] attached, so they know what’s expected of them,” she said.

The hearing was left open for written comments until Sept. 13.

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