Ronald DeVito of Concordia Senior Communities with an architect's rendering of an assisted living facility proposed for Middle Country Road and Manor Road in Calverton. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The owner of property on the corner of Manor Road and Route 25 in Calverton is asking the town to change the site’s zoning to allow for development of an assisted living facility there.

Calverton Manor, which has been in litigation with the Town of Riverhead for more than a decade of the rezoning of its 41.7 acre site when it implemented the a comprehensive land use plan in 2004, seeks a change of zone on an 11-acre parcel from the Rural Corridor zoning use district to the Retirement Community designation so that the it can be developed by Concordia Senior Communities with a planned 142-bed assisted living facility.

Riverhead Town prevailed in court on three of four separate lawsuits brought by Calverton Manor, challenging the validity of the 2003 land use plan and the 2004 zoning code adoption. In the fourth action, the court annulled a 2005 town board resolution implementing the town’s transfer of development rights program, ruling that the town failed to give proper notice of the measure to the Suffolk County Planning Commission as required by state law. Riverhead has since re-adopted the TDR program following the mandated procedure.

The trial court’s 2014 rulings in favor of the town were upheld in April by an appellate division court.

But the appellate court left the door open to a new lawsuit by Calverton Manor on the question of whether town officials intentionally delayed review of a site plan application completed two months before the adoption of the master plan in November 2003. The court noted that the record on this question contains “inconsistencies.”

Calverton Manor has filed an application to appeal to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. The high court must grant leave to appeal in order for the appeal to proceed. 

It is looking to settle all pending or prospective claims with an agreement to change the zoning on the 11-acre parcel to allow the development of an assisted living facility by Concordia.

Concordia principal Ronald DeVito said he would seek to build a three-story building that would include 135 assisted living units, with a handful of those being “companion suites” for two people, bringing the total number of people housed to about 142. It would also include a health care clinic and a respite center.

The facility would be affordable for local residents, DeVito said. “I’m all about affordability,” he said. “An affordable facility like this is so needed here,” he said.

Concordia still has an application pending for a site on Mill and Middle roads, adjacent to and north of the Riverhead Centre shopping plaza. If Calverton Manor’s change of zone request is approved, Concordia would not pursue the Mill Road application, Calverton Manor attorney John Wagner told the town board today.

DeVito said Calverton Manor site’s visibility from Middle Country Road is very desirable. He would want the entrance to the new facility to be located on the state highway, but town officials said an entrance on Manor Road would be much better from a traffic flow standpoint, because traffic in that area often backs up as cars attempt to enter Splish Splash Water Park.

Wagner asked board members for their reactions. “If it’s something people are interested in, there are ways to move forward,” Wagner said. “The rest is detail work, it’s mechanism — it’s process.” The board could change the zoning of the parcel or create an overlay zone for it.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio stated her support for the plan. “Besides downtown I think this is the perfect location,” she said.

Councilman James Wooten and Deputy Supervisor Tim Hubbard also expressed support. Councilwoman Catherine Kent said she agreed there is a need for affordable assisted living in Riverhead but expressed concern about the building height. “I’m not crazy about three stories,” Kent said.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith suggested the developers present their plans to the Calverton and Wading River civic associations.

Calverton Manor is in contract to sell 30 acres north of the subject parcel — in the Agricultural Protection Zone — to a lavender farm. A subdivision application is currently pending.

The developer previously sought to develop the whole site with retail stores and rental apartments, uses not permitted under the existing Rural Corridor and APZ districts.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.