A riverfront parcel on West Main Street previously approved for a 40-seat restaurant may become a park for Peconic River access, if the Suffolk County Legislature approves its purchase.
The owner of the property has submitted a letter of interest to the county, County Legislator Al Krupski told the Riverhead Town Board Thursday. If the town board adopts a resolution stating the town is willing to partner with the county on the acquisition, by agreeing to maintain the site as parkland, the county will begin the process by ordering an appraisal.
The appraisal usually takes six to eight months, Krupski said. If the legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee approves making an offer on the site, the question will then be submitted to the full legislature, he said. If approved by the full legislature, the county will make an offer to the owner — who is free to accept or reject the offer, Krupski said.
The site, approximately one-third of an acre in size, is adjacent to another site the county already owns. It has a long-vacant building on it that would be demolished, Krupski said. The property was once home to an auto tire dealer and repair shop.
It would make a good launch site for canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized watercraft, officials said.
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio advocated for public acquisition of the parcel, which lies opposite Osborn Avenue, as she objected to the county’s proposed purchase of another riverfront site further west on West Main Street, nearly 17 acres opposite Kroemer Avenue. The site of a former duck farm, Giglio argued at a work session in November that it was “de facto … already preserved” by environmental and zoning regulations.
Giglio said then that if the county has money for open space purchases in Riverhead, there were other properties along the river that would make more sense to preserve — parcels closer to the central part of town, suggesting the site opposite Osborn Avenue as one to pursue. She also argued that the town is having a hard time keeping up with the maintenance of its current park facilities and should not be taking on new ones.
The purchase would be made with the county’s quarter-percent sales tax funds.
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