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Revived application seeks to add stores between Tanger I and Tanger II

A nearly 20-year-old proposal to build outlet stores on vacant property in between Tanger I and Tanger II is back before the Riverhead Town Board and Planning Board. The proposal is called “Dries-Speccio Manufacturer’s Outlet Center.”

Developers Bill Dries and the late Anthony Speccio originally proposed building two restaurants in between Tanger I and II back in 1998.

At the time, merchants complained that Tanger Outlets, under zoning, was not allowed to serve food so that shoppers would instead go to downtown restaurants to eat. 

The Dries-Speccio property is located in between the Tanger Outlets, but at the time it was not located in the outlet zone. The town rejected the proposal, and the applicants sued. 

The 4.15-acre property was eventually rezoned to the Manufacturer’s Outlet Center Overlay Zone, the same zone as Tanger. It’s also within the boundaries of the Riverhead Sewer District and Water District, and the applicant has received a Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Rivers Act curtails development along the Peconic River. 

The Planning Department has received two applications — a special permit application before the Town Board and a site plan application from the planning board — “which seek approval to construct 31,000 square feet of manufacturer’s outlet center retail space, as well as related improvements including parking, lighting, landscaping, and utility connections, including water, natural gas, and sewer connections,” Planning aide Greg Bergman wrote in his staff report to the Town Board. 

“This application has had a long history,” Mr. Bergman told the Town Board last Thursday. 

“It had previously received approvals in the early 2000s, and it got special permit and site plan approval. Building permits were issued but they never actually built anything. Those approvals have since lapsed, and the applicants are now seeking to reestablish the approvals and move forward,” Mr. Bergman said. 

He added that one of the major concerns is access to the site. Due to its location between the two Tangers, there were a series of easements that were negotiated between the owners of Tanger and the owners of this property, which allowed for the construction of Tanger II, Mr. Bergman said.