Riverhead Raceway owners looking to beautify front of property

Riverhead Raceway’s northern property line could soon get a face-lift.

The owners have proposed several improvements along Route 58 to make the site “less institutional and more attractive aesthetically,” according to Tom Wolpert, an engineer for the project.

“If you go by there now, it looks like a prison surrounded by chain link, barbed wire fence,” he said during a Riverhead Town Planning Board meeting last Thursday.

The plans call for removing all existing vegetation and the chain link fence along Route 58 and installing two new access gates to the gravel parking area. The fence would be replaced with 66 boulders staggered along the property line.

A second fence surrounding the actual racetrack and bleachers would remain to provide security, Mr. Wolpert said.

Town planner Greg Bergman said he has no objection to removing the fence or adding new gates, but is concerned about the visual impact that would result from removing existing trees and shrubbery.

“The Planning Board has consistently strived for attractive landscape design to screen the visual impacts from commercial properties,” he said. “Approval of them just clearing all of the vegetation would be contrary to what the board has strived for along Old Country Road.”

Board member George Nunnaro agreed. “I think the fence is ugly. Putting the boulders might improve it, but why take down the vegetation that’s there?” he said.

At the suggestion of board members, Mr. Wolpert agreed to appear at a future Planning Board meeting with a more thorough landscaping plan.