2012 1227 raceway indian
Riverhead Raceway's iconic Indian chief statue on Old Country Road in Riverhead. Photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead Town has issued a stop-work order for Riverhead Raceway stating the raceway needs proper permits before continuing with plans to “improve aesthetics” on the property.

The town began an investigation after receiving a complaint that construction was underway without site plan approval or permits . They found the raceway’s new owner, Ed Partridge, had taken down a fence and demolished two trailers without acquiring permits from the town.

“The raceway is very old,” said Partridge, who bought the raceway earlier this year from longtime owners Jim and Barbara Cromarty. “The trailers have been there since 1960. The roofs were caving in. The existing fence had fallen down on the east side.”

Partridge’s plan to spruce up the property included demolishing the two dilapidated trailers, installing a new 10-foot fence and creating a picnic area.

The eastern boundary of the Riverhead Raceway property, adjoining the Saber Riverhead (Dick's Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops) retail plaza, where the raceway owner took down an existing fence and demolished some trailers without a site plan or permits from the town. Photo: Peter Blasl
The eastern boundary of the Riverhead Raceway property, adjoining the Saber Riverhead (Dick’s Sporting Goods, Christmas Tree Shops) retail plaza, where the raceway owner took down an existing fence and demolished some trailers without a site plan or permits from the town. Photo: Peter Blasl

But after demolishing the trailers and taking down the already-existing fence, which he described as “old, brittle and ugly,” Partridge was stopped by an investigating officer from the town, who posted the stop-work order and advised Partridge to attend a planning board work session before continuing.

Last month, Partridge was also issued a stop-work order on a project at another property he owns in Calverton. A State Supreme Court judge signed an order granting the Town of Riverhead a preliminary injunction for a Middle Country Road site, preventing owners Partridge and T.S. Haulers, from excavating and removing sand and materials from the 154-acre site. The town said the owners have been mining without a permit, a charge they contest.

Upon arriving at the raceway on Dec. 3, the town investigator observed Partridge “operating an excavator and actively grading the northeasterly boundary of the property,” according to the stop-work order. Partridge told the investigator the area was being graded to accommodate a picnic seating area behind the concession stand. The investigator also found workers operating a forklift to remove asphalt, which Partridge said he planned to replace with RCA mix and blue stone, according to the order.

“I didn’t know you needed a permit to take down a fence,” Partridge said in a phone interview yesterday. “We have an appointment [Dec. 8] with the committee, and we’ll put the old fence right back up if that’s what they want.”

 

Denise Civiletti contributed reporting.

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Courtney is a photographer, videographer, web designer and writer. She is a lifelong Riverhead resident.