Proposed two-story medical office raises public concerns in Aquebogue

A proposal to build a two-story medical office building on Route 25 in Aquebogue ran into opposition from residents and Town Board members at a Riverhead Town Board hearing Wednesday, with many speakers worried that allowing two stories would set a precedent. 

Ira and Mark Chernoff, both orthopedists, are seeking a special permit from the Town Board to build a two-story office building with a footprint of 5,340-square feet, and a total floor area of 10,377-square feet.

The site consists of two parcels totaling 1.89 acres. 

The proposed site is next to a veterinary office on the south side of Route 25, and there is an accountant’s office and an insurance agent across the street, according to Charles Cuddy, the attorney for the applicant. The proposed building will have 76 parking spaces.

Mr. Cuddy said they will have an x-ray technician on site, which is “a little bit unusual for a medical office,” and they are looking to get an MRI, which Mr. Cuddy said is “the gold standard” for an orthopedist.

“I have some concerns with it,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard. He said the rural corridor zoning category that the project is located in “is exactly what it says it is. It’s a rural corridor.”

He added, “the two stories bothers me a lot,” saying that the stretch of Route 25 from County Road 105 to Jamesport is a beautiful stretch of the road.

“To see two-story buildings start popping up, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that,” Mr. Hubbard said. 

Councilwoman Catherine Kent agreed. 

“I am concerned with the intensity of the whole project and I think it opens the door for more two-story buildings coming in,” she said. 

Mr. Cuddy said the parking will be in the back of the building the front part of the property will have landscaping. 

“There are plenty of two-story medical buildings in the town. This is not the first one,” Mr. Cuddy said. 

Ms. Kent said the other two-story buildings had residential uses on the top floor. The proposal would have 7 suites and 34 examination rooms, she said. 

Former Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith also opposed the project. She said the intent of the rural corridor zoning was to allow “a very limited range of roadside shops and services that are compatible with the agricultural setting” on Route 25. 

The Greater Jamesport Civic Association also voiced its opposition. 

“A two-story building is not in character with the rural corridor zoning of the area and should not be allowed,” the civic association’s executive board wrote is a letter to the board. “A 76-vehicle parking lot will produce a traffic safety nightmare when vehicles try to make a left turn in and out of the property.” 

The Town Board left it open for written comments only, by July 16 at 4:30 p.m.