The site of a proposed 7-Eleven at 245 W. Main St. near Osborn Avenue. Photo: Denise Civiletti

A new 7-Eleven is planned for West Main Street in downtown Riverhead near Osborn Avenue.

Garden City-based Area Real Estate Associates is proposing to demolish an existing vacant auto repair shop and construct a 3,063-square-foot retail convenience store on an approximately 40,000-square foot site on the south side of West Main Street, just east of Osborn Avenue.

The developer’s representatives heard some strong push-back from town officials at yesterday’s planning board meeting on the design of the building as well as the proposed site plan layout.

Riverhead Landmarks Commission chairman Richard Wines sat with the planning board to weigh in on the plans. He objected to the site design submitted by Bohler Engineering of Hauppauge which shows a row of parking spaces along the street — eight of the proposed 16 parking spaces to be built on site.

“We don’t want to see cars parked in the front,” Wines said on behalf of the landmarks commission. “It’s not a traditional or appropriate use,” he said.

“You don’t want to see — the first thing when you enter Riverhead — a sea of cars,” Wines said.

He asked the developers to consider alternatives that would put the parking to the rear or the side of the building, which he asked be relocated so that it is closer to the street. That would also require reconfiguring the access points to the site.

The site is located in the Downtown Riverhead Historic District, which is on the state and national registers of historic places.

It is also located within a designated “community river” area in the State Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act corridor. As such it must comply with state regulations restricting development in the designated area and the developers must obtain permission from the State DEC to develop the site. There are also requirements of minimum setback from the river and associated wetlands, restrictions on land-clearing and limits on impervious surfaces on the site.

“We’re trying to comply with DOT, with DEC [regulations] and also we have a tenant that prides itself on being convenient,” Irwin Krasnow of Area Real Estate told planning board members and Wines. He said 7-Eleven would not like a site plan that requires customers to drive around the back of the building to park.

“We’re trying to keep everybody happy,” Krasnow said.

Planning Board vice chairman Ed Densieski, who ran yesterday’s meeting in the absence of chairman Stan Carey, expressed displeasure about the design of the building itself. He noted that 7-Eleven designs in other places were much less “standard” and more attractive.

“We said ‘impress us’ and you said ‘we will’ but you didn’t,” Densieski said.

The developer representatives will go back to the drawing board and submit revised plans and designs.

If approved and built, the West Main Street 7-Eleven would be the fourth in the Town of Riverhead, but the only one currently downtown. (There was a 7-Eleven previously on the corner of East Main and Elton streets, but that closed long ago.) Another 7-Eleven was proposed for a site on Main Road in Aquebogue and after a judge annulled the town building department’s permit denial for a retail use at the Vinland Commons shopping plaza, the town in 2016 amended the zoning code to ban retail business operations between midnight and 5 a.m. in the rural corridor zoning use district.

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