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Developers say selling Sound Shore Road property to county would be ‘win-win’

The developers of a single-family housing subdivision on Sound Shore Road in Riverhead said their primary goal is to sell the property’s development rights to Suffolk County for preservation.

“That’s been our goal from day 1,” said Peter Schembri, who heads Villas at Roanoke with Gerald Simone. The two spoke via phone before the Riverhead Planning Board Thursday evening.

He said they’re “99%” leaning toward transferring the development rights to the county.

“It’s not something we really have to develop,” he said. “We’d rather not. I think the way things are financially, I think the county can probably justify a number that would satisfy us. We don’t need to build it.”

He said it would be a “win-win” to sell the property to the county.

“You guys would love to see it preserved,” he said. “And we’d like to sell it to them.”

Planning Board members said they must still proceed with the proposed subdivision application as if the property would be developed.

The board approved a resolution to schedule a public hearing for Aug. 6. The board is still waiting for comments back from the consulting engineer. The subdivision had been before the Planning Board before and in January, the developers added a 14th lot to comply with requirements of the Long Island Workforce Housing Act. The subdivision was also redesigned to consolidate the mandated open space in one large tract, rather than spread it across all of the lots, according to prior reports. In November 2019, the Planning Board approved the 13-lot subdivision.

In 2015, the developers sold the county the development rights for 22 acres of farmland at the northwest corner of Roanoke and Sound avenues.

Mr. Schembri said he’s been in contact with the county and he said his understanding is an appraisal has been done, and they’re waiting to hear back a final number from the county, which still has to allocate funds for the purchase.

He said he was told the county can’t make an offer until the funds are in place.

“Our intentions are exactly what we’ve said, moving forward with the county, but we don’t know where we’re at with them,” he said.

Baits & Barrels hearing postponed

The Planning Board approved a resolution to postpone a public hearing required for Baits & Barrels on its proposal to locate an 8-foot by 50-foot, portable self-contained firearm testing range at its site.

Baits & Barrels is located at the former site of Fishermen’s Deli on West Main Street in Riverhead and sells hunting- and fishing-related items along the Peconic River. 

The public hearing will be Aug. 6.