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New four-story apartment building planned for downtown Riverhead

Another multi-level apartment building is being proposed in downtown Riverhead.

This time, the town has received a site plan application for the Zenith Building on 12 McDermott Avenue.

The application calls for a four-story, 49-foot tall mixed-use building on a 0.122 acre parcel that currently houses a single family house. The site is directly across the street from the recently constructed 116-unit Riverview Lofts apartments.

The Zenith Building calls for a total of nine market rate apartments on floors two-through-four, with six one-bedroom apartments and three two-bedroom units.The ground floor would have two retail spaces. A roof-top deck is proposed for use of the building’s residents, according to the application. 

The total height of the building, including stairwell bulkheads and an elevator shaft, is 58 feet, according to the application. 

There currently are five new apartment complexes in downtown Riverhead that are either built or under construction, These include Summerwind (52 units); Woolworth Apartments (19 apartments); Peconic Crossing (45 units); and Riverview Lofts (116 units). Those five buildings total 268 units. 

There are four more apartment buildings proposed or under review, and they would bring an additional 225 units onto the market.  

The latter group includes the former Sears site (170 units); the Suffolk Theater expansion (25 units); the Zenith Building (9 units); the former West Marine building (45 units); and Barth’s Drug Store (1 unit). A 39-unit, five-story market-rate apartment complex also was recently proposed for Court Street. 

The Zenith Building, owned by developer Ray Castronovo, has been approved by the Town Board before. In February 2006, it received site plan approval from the Town Board for a four story mixed-use apartment complex.

In March of 2009, the developer asked for and was granted a 12-month extension on the approved site plan that ran through Feb. 22, 2010. That resolution started that “no further extension will be granted,” according to town planning aide Greg Bergman. 

Despite this, on Feb. 20, 2013, the Town Board granted an additional 12-month extension and this extension also stated that “no further extensions will be granted.” 

The building is located within the town’s Parking District, meaning that it is not required to provide off-street parking. Properties within the parking district pay into a special tax that allows them to use the town parking lots as its parking. 

If the Zenith Building were to need its own parking, it would require 24 parking stalls, according to Mr. Bergman. 

He said the project is considered a “type one” action, which requires a coordinated review between town, state and county agencies, but Mr. Bergman said the town planning staff is recommending the Town be the lead agency in the review and issue a “negative declaration, as there are no foreseeable negative environmental impacts that are anticipated to result from the proposed project.” 

A variance from the town Zoning Board of Appeals will be required because the southern part of the property doesn’t have the required amount of buffer, Mr. Bergman said. 

Councilwoman Catherine Kent asked if the cumulative impact of the third project and the other apartments should be required. 

Mr. Bergman said that, with no additional parking being provided, “what cumulative impacts would be studied?”

Ms. Kent said the proposal would add more traffic. 

Mr. Bergman said this was studied under the town 2003 comprehensive study. 

“That’s why they do a comprehensive plan, so you don’t need an individual study for every single proposal,” he said.

Ms. Kent also asked of the project is in compliance with the town’s Pattern Book. 

Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz said the Pattern Board recommendations have been adopted by the Town Board, but they have not been made part of the Town Code yet.