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Peconic Paddler proposal requires wetlands permit; comment period open until March 4

The owners of the Peconic Paddler property on Peconic Avenue in Riverside will need approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for a freshwater wetlands permit, as well as a state Wild, Scenic & Recreational Rivers Act permit in order for a new proposal for the property to move forward. 

Co-owners Tom Fredette and James Svendsen, doing business as Fredette Svenden LLC, bought the property from longtime Peconic Paddler owner Jim Dreeben in 2017 for $700,000. Mr. Dreeben had owned the property for more than 50 years.

Fredette Svendsen had originally proposed building a 4.5-story hotel, with 100 rooms and a bar and restaurant on the top floor of the property. 

However, that proposal was scaled back due to the lack of available sewage treatment in the area.

The applicants had received preliminary site plan approval on a smaller, revised project in 2020 from Southampton Town that allowed for the construction of a one-story, 4,212-square foot restaurant with boat rentals and sales.

The current building on the site would be torn down. 

Mr. Fredette had hoped to follow through with the larger plan, but like many projects in Riverside, it needed sewer hookup, something much of Riverside lacks.

The Peconic Paddler property is located just south of Riverhead Town’s sewer line, and Mr. Fredette and Mr. Svendsen had asked Riverhead Town officials if the Paddler could be connected to the Riverhead sewer systems. 

But members of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association objected, saying that any available sewage capacity should be reserved for buildings in Riverhead Town. 

“The BIDMA would like to see Riverside move in a positive direction, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of downtown Riverhead and our revitalization efforts,” BIDMA president Steve Shaugher wrote in a letter to the Riverhead Town Board in August of 2019. 

The DEC is currently in the midst of a written public comment period on the Peconic Paddler proposal. 

Comments on the project must be submitted in writing no later than March 4 to Kimberly Lamiroult at [email protected]

According to the DEC the project is a “Type II action,” which means “it will not require further SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review Act) review.” 

A cultural resources survey has been completed and cultural resources were identified, the DEC notice says. 

However, “Based on information provided in the survey report, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has determined that the proposed activity will have no adverse impact on registered or eligible archaeological sites or historic structures. No further review in accordance with SHPA is required.”

Mr. Fredette could not be reached for comment.