Proposed Wading River development may be preserved

The Central Square application on Route 25A in Wading River appears to be headed for preservation and not development, as was originally planned.

Officials say the front half of the 18-acre property will remain as farmland and the rest, which had previously been planned for development, will be preserved as open space, under an agreement proposed by the town Planning Board and the applicant, William Zoumas of Wading River.

The Planning Board on March 2 approved a resolution that removed a retail easement required for a development project, and replaced it with an agricultural easement, since the land will be used for farming or open space in the future.

“We’re getting close to the finish line,” said Mr. Zoumas’ attorney, Peter Danowski.
Officials did not indicate the cost of the transaction.

Mr. Danowski said the town resolution allows the non-profit Peconic Land Trust to purchase the development rights from Mr. Zoumas with money from a state Dept. of Agriculture and Markets grant.
He said he is waiting for that transaction to close before the deal is final.

It allows the development rights to be extinguished by a application that was filed by the Peconic Land Trust with the Zoumas’ permission.

Central Square, which received site plan approval from the Planning Board in February of 2020, was a proposed 49,107-square-foot shopping center with a bank and restaurant, on land just east of the CVS pharmacy. It proposed six buildings, four of which would have retail and professional office uses, along with a drive-through bank and a 150-seat restaurant.

If the deal goes through to Peconic Land Trust, Central Square will be the second proposed development project on Route 25A that ended up being preserved.

Developer Kenn Barra’s 6-acre Knightland project, which was across the street from the proposed site of the Central Square development, was sold to the Peconic Land Trust in 2021 for $1.6 million.

Prior to the sale, Mr. Barra had proposed building a 31,181-square-foot medical office center on that land.