Home News Local News Retail on Route 58 continues to grow, as planners consider nearly 200,000...

Retail on Route 58 continues to grow, as planners consider nearly 200,000 sq. ft. of new construction in two developments

Sites of two new developments proposed for Route 58.

The retail “mecca” that is Route 58 in Riverhead continues to grow.

The town planning board at its meeting tomorrow afternoon is set to approve a preliminary site plan for a 60,000-square-foot retail shopping center just west of Osborn Avenue.

At the same meeting, planners will take a first look at another site plan for more than 120,000 square feet of retail space on the vacant portion of the 41.6-acre site where Costco Wholesale was built more than two years ago.

The Garsten Retail Center is proposed for a 12-acre parcel of vacant land which fronts on the north side of Route 58, west of the future home a Sonic Drive-In and an 8,250-square foot retail building. Both the Garsten center and the Sonic site have frontage on Osborn Avenue and both will have entrances on that roadway.

The Garsten property stretches to the north and lies to the west of the Riverhead Highway Department, with Osborn Avenue frontage just south of the bend in the road.

Planners have before them tomorrow a resolution granting Garsten preliminary site plan approval.

Further west on Route 58, the owner of the 41.6-acre site now developed with the Costco Wholesale Club, is back with plans for 120,450 square feet of retail and accessory uses in five new buildings on the east side of the property. The application represents phase two of a 270,787-square-foot “Shops at Riverhead” site plan initially approved by the Riverhead Planning Board in October 2012.

The developer got permission to clear-cut the entire site in anticipation of the full buildout, sparking a long and bitter controversy with residents in surrounding residential communities.

Both the “Shops at Riverhead” site and the Garsten Retail Center site are zoned “Destination Retail,” a zoning use district adopted with the 2003 master plan that was intended to “provide a location for large retail centers…that attract customers from the East End…and beyond.” The idea was to concentrate retail centers on Route 58 and prevent sprawl along the main roads of the other hamlets, while “linking development along the Route 58 corridor to open space protected in the Agriculture Protection zoning use district.” That was to be accomplished by allowing increased floor area in the Destination Retail district with the use of transferred development rights taken off agricultural lands within the APZ. Development in the Destination Retail zone is intended to have a campus-style layout, according to the plan, with no strip or freestanding businesses permitted.

The “Shops at Riverhead” site plan application is on the planning board agenda for discussion.

Tomorrow’s meeting begins at 3 p.m. at Riverhead Town Hall.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.