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04/25/14 5:15pm
04/25/2014 5:15 PM
The site of construction at Costco in late March. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The site of construction at Costco in late March. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The controversial Costco/Shops at Riverhead development on Route 58 has been issued a stop work order, putting the entire project on hold until the developer can show that the work being done is in conformance with its approved site plan, according to Riverhead Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz.  (more…)

03/27/14 7:00pm
03/27/2014 7:00 PM
The site of the Costco/Shops at Riverhead plaza on Route 58. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The site of the Costco/Shops at Riverhead plaza on Route 58 on Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The developers of the Costco/Shops at Riverhead development on Route 58 have been issued a stop work order barring them from taking sand on or off the site, according to Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz.

“There’s an allegation that they were exporting sand, as seen by code enforcement officer Richard Downs on Tuesday,” Mr. Kozakiewicz said.


11/06/13 9:00am
11/06/2013 9:00 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | A fence and vegetative berm bordering Foxwoods Village.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | A fence and vegetative berm bordering Foxwoods Village.

To the relief of some, construction has started on a vegetative berm and buffer abutting homes in Foxwood Village, on the northern end of The Shops at Riverhead, where nearby residents have been infuriated by the clear cutting of 41 acres of trees at the proposed shopping center, saying it increases dust and noise at their properties and creates security concerns.

While the town Planning Board had threatened to pull the permits on the Route 58 project as a result of the original berm plans, they were never revoked after recent changes were made to the board’s satisfaction.

Jeff Murphree, the town planning and building administrator, said the new information submitted by the developer “clarifies” the previous information.

An evergreen buffer and fence also is planned along part of the eastern boundary of the property, near the Millbrook Community, a mobile home park on Mill Road, officials have said.

The berm under construction is about four feet high and has evergreen trees being planted on top of it that are about eight feet high. Additional trees are proposed. There also is a six foot wooden fence along the property line with Foxwood Village; however, residents there have called it inadequate.

Residents have also questioned why the developer needed to cut down all the trees near their homes in the first place, since there is no building planned in that area in the approved site plan.

Peter Danowski, the attorney for the project – which will feature a Costco Warehouse as its anchor tenant – has said the project is a “balanced cut and fill,” whereby no sand would be imported or exported from the site, but would instead be moved around to regrade the land.

He said that once the berm and buffer are constructed, residents will be happy with it.

“In certain parts, it’s good,” said Marylee Feldman, president of the Foxwood Village Homeowners Association, which has been critical of the plans. “For some of the residents, it’s good. It’s fine, because it’s way higher than the fence. Once they put the trees on, it will be very good if they space them correctly.”

However, she said the trees won’t provide an adequate buffer if they’re not spaced correctly.

Robert Hall, a Foxwood Village resident who has monitored Planning Board meetings on the Shops at Riverhead application for the past four years, says he believes the trees that are being planted are too far apart to provide adequate screening, and are too small.

Foxwood Village residents still plan to go back to the Planning Board on Nov. 7 to ask for a better fence.

“I think this one will fall down by itself. It’s very rickety and not constructed properly,” Ms. Feldman said.

Residents have questioned the need to cut all the trees that were there initially, saying the “balanced cut and fill approach” was merely intended to save money for the developer.

“Some questions will never get answered,” Ms. Feldman said. “I just hope it’s okay” in the long run, she said.

Following the negative reaction to the project’s clear cutting, the Riverhead Town Board last week adopted new regulations that would require large commercial projects adjacent to residences to retain 50-foot natural buffers, or to construct a 50-foot vegetative buffer if one doesn’t exist naturally.

Supervisor Sean Walter said that requirement will apply to Shops at Riverhead only if the developer attempts to build more stores in the northern part of the property.

The Shops at Riverhead, which is now owned by Brixmor Property Group of New York, would be required to buy transferred farmland development rights in order to be able to build any more than what is currently proposed.

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10/17/13 7:00am
10/17/2013 7:00 AM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation in July at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

To the editor:

There certainly should have been more consideration afforded the adjacent community by the contractor of the Shops at Riverhead. I fully support the protesters for the lack of local workers — both union and non-union.

Jobs should be a primary consideration in approving any major construction.

However, the protesting politicians who are against the coming of Costco, and view it as an issue to hang their hats on, are in for an unpleasant surprise. Everyone I have spoken to has only one major complaint: “What’s taking so long to open? We can’t wait!”

And all reports indicate Costco pays relatively excellent pay and benefits, while also offering a realistic path to advancement. Sounds like a great addition to Riverhead.

Ed Goldstein, Baiting Hollow

10/11/13 4:29pm
10/11/2013 4:29 PM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

The Riverhead Town Planning Board has scheduled a special meeting Tuesday to “review and possibly take action on The Shops at Riverhead site plan.”

The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in Town Hall.

The Shops at Riverhead is the proposed 271,000 square foot shopping center on the north side of Route 58, across from Riverhead Raceway, which drew a protest last week from more than one group of gatherers.

The project, which will feature a Costco Warehouse store as its anchor, has run into complaints from neighbors because the developer clear cut all the trees on the site right up to their property line, though the work was done with the approval of the Town Board and Planning Board.

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The Shops at Riverhead has also drawn complaints from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 138, 138A, 138B & 138C, which says the developer is using out of state, non-union labor. They have been picketing outside the site for weeks, and have three large inflatable rats along the road in front of the property.

The Planning Board recently has threatened to revoke the building permits issued to Shops at Riverhead because it stated that a berm constructed along the property line was not property engineered. To date, however, they have not done so, but assistant town attorney Bill Duffy said that is a possibility for Tuesday.

Ali Moayeri, Costco’s senior vice president for construction, said in an interview on Wednesday that the clearing of the property and the design for the berm had nothing to do with Costco. He said the overall developer of the site, Brixmor Property Group, handled that.

Mr. Moayeri said Costco had to wait for Brixmor to do clearing and grading and installation of utilities before they could even get onto their store’s foundation on site, which they did about two weeks ago.

Costco has purchased its foundation on the site.

Mr. Moayeri said Brixmor hired non-union labor for that part of the job and the unions immediately began picketing outside the site and blaming Costco.

He said Costco had a union contract signed and ready to go with Whiting-Turner, a contractor they have used on many projects.

However, when the unions continued picking this and other Costco sites and stores, Costco “felt like we were being punished for trying to do the right thing.”

He said Costco then rebid the job “open shop,” which means both union and non-union contractors could compete.

Whiting-Turner ended up backing out because they couldn’t match those prices, Mr. Moayeri said, and T.D. Farrell of Georgia was selected.

Mr. Moayeri said they have some union contractors on the site, though most are non-union. The sub-contractors hired by T.D. Farrell include both union and non-union, he said.

Mr. Moayeri said regardless of whether contractors are union or non-union, Costco has a policy that all workers on its construction jobs be paid fair market wages, as determined by the federal Davis-Bacon Act.

Representatives of Brixmor have yet to respond to several requests for comment.