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Planning Board: Single-family housing, townhouses proposed for Riverhead

A proposed 13-lot subdivision on Sound Shore Road in Riverhead will add a 14th lot in order to comply with requirements of the Long Island Workforce Housing Act.

The single-family housing subdivision, which was discussed by the Riverhead Planning Board last Thursday, also will be redesigned to consolidate the mandated open space in one large tract, rather than spread it across all of the lots.

In addition, the developer, Villas at Roanoke, headed by Peter Schembri and Gerald Simone, has expressed interest in selling the land to Suffolk County for preservation. A site plan approval would likely increase the selling price. In 2015, they sold the county the development rights for 22 acres of farmland at the northwest corner of Roanoke and Sound avenues.

The 11.13-acre parcel, on the south side of Sound Shore Road, has a split zone, with the northern part of the land zoned Residence-40 (one-acre lots) and the southern part zoned Residence A-80 (two-acre minimum lots).

The applicants hope to use transferred development rights to increase the subdivision’s as-for-right development potential, according to town planning aide Greg Bergman. 

The 13-lot subdivision was approved by the Planning Board in November 2019, predicated on the redemption of seven development rights. 

TDRs allow development rights to be taken off farmland that the town seeks to preserve and applied instead to land where additional development is encouraged. 

The applicant in this case chose to build the workforce unit on site, although the law allows it to be built elsewhere, or to pay into an affordable housing fund. 

A condition of the Long Island Workforce Housing Act is the applicant must set aside 10% for affordable units.

The plan before the Planning Board includes an open space easement on 13 of the 14 lots as well as a recharge area on one lot. 

Planning Board chairman Stan Carey said the board doesn’t like the idea of having open space behind each lot because the property owners “just take it over and it becomes hard to police.”

Charles Cuddy, attorney for the applicant, suggested separating the open space into a single lot, and making the other lots smaller. He said they would probably need to create a homeowners association. 

Mr. Cuddy said the applicant will revise the plan to keep the open space in a separate lot. 

Merritt’s Creek Townhouses

At their Dec. 19 meeting, Planning Board members also discussed a proposal to develop 26 three-bedroom townhouses in six buildings at 916 East Main St.

The project, called Merritt’s Creek Townhouses, would occupy three lots totaling 3.4 acres on the north side of East Main Street. 

The six buildings would each have four or five units, according to the application. A gazebo, patios and parking areas also are proposed in place of the existing residential uses on the property. 

An existing two-family residence and three existing single-family homes on the property would be demolished. 

Gregory Folk of Flanders owns two of the lots and Shawn and Theresa Cahill of Riverhead own the third, according to town records. 

Town planner Karin Gluth said that after studying the plan recently, the town’s Architectural Review Board submitted handwritten comments suggesting that the applicant “flip” the design of the two buildings facing Main Street so that the main entrances face the street and the units’ dining and kitchen areas face the parking lot. 

Planning Board members asked that the ARB attend a future meeting to explain their rationale for that recommendation.