The new owners of Riverhead Raceway want to show drive-in movies at the raceway site on Friday nights this summer, but the Riverhead Town Board is not ready to roll the reel.
The raceway owners have filed a special event application with the town seeking permission to show the outdoor movies on 10 Fridays beginning June 17 and ending Sept. 2.
Supervisor Sean Walter questioned whether the series of 10 events qualifies as a “special event” since they’d be occurring regularly at the site.
“This is a lot of movies here,” Walter said at today’s work session, where the special event permit approval was one of the resolutions reviewed by the board in advance of Tuesday’s meeting. “If we do this enough we give him another nonconforming use.”
“I’m not supporting this until we get more information,” the supervisor said. “I’d like Eddie Partridge or whoever to come talk to us. And we should invite Brian Stark in,” Walter said, referring to the owner of Glenwood Village. The raceway should attend a Tuesday morning planning meeting to discuss the request, he said.
Councilman John Dunleavy thought approving the movies at the raceway might be inconsistent with the town’s stance on the series of special events proposed by the new owners of the former Calverton Links golf course site.
“How do we tell them it’s OK but Edwards Avenue — we’re giving that guy a hard time,” Dunleavy said.
Councilman James Wooten said he did not think drive-in movies are a permitted use in the zoning use district of the raceway site.
“They have a pop-up screen they can put up. They had communication with the owner of Glenwood and the sound for the movie comes through your car radio, so it won’t be a problem,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said. “They have a plan for the parking lot as to how they’re going to park the cars for the movie.”
Ed and Connie Partridge bought the raceway last year from longtime owners Jim and Barbara Cromarty. The new owners completed extensive renovations to refurbish the 66-year-old facility prior to reopening for the season last month.
Ed Partridge did not return a call seeking comment for this article.
The board had no objections to a special event permit request for a car show and swap meet to be held on Sunday, July 31 and will approve the permit at Tuesday’s board meeting.
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