Applicant behind 205 Osborn Avenue project seeks to opt into parking district

The applicant seeking to build an apartment complex on Osborn Avenue submitted a petition to the Riverhead Town Board to establish an extension of the Riverhead Parking District No. 1 that would include the proposed development.

The district expansion would eliminate the need for the applicant to seek an additional Zoning Board of Appeals variance to allow for 11 on-site, non-residential parking spaces when 15 are required, according to attorney Chris Kent, who was representing the applicant 205 Osborn Ave, LLC.

The parking district is a special taxing district paid into by owners of property within the district, as a way of providing parking for downtown businesses. It was created in the 1960s.

Mr. Kent, speaking at Thursday’s Town Board work session, said there are 35 on-site parking spaces proposed. The residential use requires only 24. He said he believes there will be enough parking, with residents using most of the spaces at night and non-residents using more of the spaces during the day.

“We have 11 existing proposed on-site parking spaces for commercial uses,” he said. “Our total commercial space requires 15 outside parking spaces, so we’re only short four on-site parking spaces to meet all of our parking demands.”

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar called it a “win-win” situation.

“The only conditions we’re talking about are four parking spaces,” she said, adding that the town would benefit by the applicant opting into the parking district.

The proposal, which has been subject to heavy debate due to the number of variances sought before the ZBA, was granted preliminary site plan approval by the Town Board in February. The final site plan approval is still pending. Planner Greg Bergman said the petition was submitted in connection with the site plan application.

“We become a taxpayer to the district,” Mr. Kent said. “This developer wants to be a good community member.”

Councilman Tim Hubbard, the liaison to the parking district, said the parking district “is generally in favor of doing this.”

“The more people in the parking district, in theory, the less each participant ore each member I the parking district pays in taxes,” he said, so it’s always a good thing when we add more people to the parking district and more areas.”

The five-story, mixed-use building would feature ground floor offices and amenities space and 39 market rate apartments on upper floors. The project received positive reviews from Town Board members, who had said it would help spearhead the redevelopment of the Railroad Avenue area. The new building would replace the long vacant Long Island Diagnostic Imaging building at the corner of Osborn Avenue and Court Street.

The developer is Greg DeRosa of Huntington-based G2D Group.

The project did receive some pushback due to nine variances sought before the ZBA. Last December, the Riverhead Central School District expressed concerns about how a payment in lieu of taxes arrangement would affect the district’s tax base.

The Osborn Avenue building could be just the beginning of what could be a major redevelopment of the Railroad Avenue area. In February, a proposal for a a 243-unit, mixed-use apartment complex was unveiled that would be built on the current Railroad Avenue parking lot. The Town Board later approved the joint venture between Georgica Green Ventures and RXR as the master developer.