As much as 150,000 square feet of new mixed-use commercial and residential construction will be built on a 41.7-acre site on the corner of Manor Road and Route 25 in Calverton, under a proposed stipulation to settle five different lawsuits brought by the property owner.
The stipulation would set aside zoning put in place pursuant to the 2003 master plan and allow the owner to develop the site under the zoning regulations in place prior to the master plan, Riverhead town planner Joe Hall said Thursday after reviewing the terms of the stipulation with Planning Board members at a work session.
The owner would be allowed to build five or six buildings having a maximum total footprint of 100,000 square feet, Hall said. No one building can exceed 60,000 square feet.
The allowed uses, either as of right or by special permit of the Tow Board, would be determined by the pre-master plan schedule of uses for the Business CR zoning use district. Among the possible uses are retail stores, personal service establishments, banks, studios and dry cleaning shops, Hall said, as well as up to 40 dwelling units. Four dwelling units would be required to meet the county’s workforce housing standards.
Prior to 2004, the split-zoned parcel was Business CR, Residence A and Agricultural A. The commercial zoning was changed to Rural Corridor, which allows fewer uses and less lot coverage than Business CR. The Residence A and Agricultural A portions of the site were changed to Agricultural Protection Zone.
The property owners brought five separate actions against the town, filing one after the master plan was adopted and each of the four successive actions after the Town Board implemented the master plan with changes to the town zoning code.
The proposed stipulation would settle all five claims.
In addition to reinstating the pre-master plan zoning, the stipulation would require the town to dispense with full-blown environmental review for the project, by agreeing to issue a negative declaration under the state environmental quality review act.
The development on the site would essentially be clustered on the 29-acre commercially zoned portion of the parcel, though development yield would be calculated on the entire site, Hall said. The remaining 12.7 acres, which are bifurcated by a LIPA right-of-way, would remain open space.
If the Town Board approves the settlement, the an application could be made for site plan review. The applicant would still need to obtain the approval of the Suffolk County health department for wastewater management.
Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday he could not discuss the rationale for the settlement since the case is still pending. However he said, he believes it’s time to conclude any lingering master plan zoning lawsuits.
“We need to wrap this stuff up,” Walter said. “The master plan was adopted seven years ago. It’s time to move on with these things.”
The town needs to “spur some development to put people to work,” the supervisor added. “We can’t just sit on our hands and say no to everything.”
The Town Board will be asked to approve a resolution authorizing the settlement at an upcoming meeting, as soon as the planning department completes the initial steps of the SEQRA process, Walter said.
Calverton Civic Association president Rex Farr said the civic was very concerned about this project from the begining and said he could not understand why the town would agree to revert to the pre-master plan zoning there.
“Why is the town even thinking of capitulating,” Farr asked.
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