Photo: Wikipedia

A 2017 site plan approval for the Garsten Retail development on Route 58 was amended by the planning board Thursday, at the applicant’s request, to shrink the size of the building, change the building elevations and implement other other minor changes to make way for a Hobby Lobby store at the site.

The Oklahoma-based arts and crafts retailer will be the sole tenant in a 55,600-square-foot building on the 12-acre site on Route 58, opposite Lowe’s.

The planning board in 2017 granted final site plan approval for the development of a 58,608-square-foot multi-tenant building.

“This is a downsizing and nothing’s changed as far as clearing from the previous approval,” Planning Board chairman Stan Carey said.

Clearing of the previously wooded site to make way for the development took place in April, pursuant to the previous site plan approval, as well as a clearing permit from the town board, a stormwater runoff plan approval from the town and permits from the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation. But the clearing of one of the last wooded parcels on Route 58 nonetheless sparked controversy in the community.

Garsten Retail’s revised elevations are scheduled to be reviewed by the town’s architectural review board on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Planning board member Joseph Baier voted against the approval last week because he said the board should wait for the ARB to review the elevations first, which is the normal procedure.

Garsten attorney Peter Danowski on Aug. 1 asked the planning board to act at its Aug. 15 meeting, before the next scheduled ARB meeting.

“We’re really under the gun,” Danowksi said, due to contractual obligations with the tenant.

“Through no fault of the applicant they were delayed for reasons outside the scope of this board,” Riverhead planning and building administrator Jefferson Murphree told the board at its Aug. 1 meeting.

Hobby Lobby is a privately owned chain of more than 850 retail stores operating in 46 states, according to the company website. It sells arts and crafts supplies, as well as fabrics, floral and wedding supplies, cards and party ware, baskets, wearable art, picture framing, jewelry making, home accents and holiday merchandise. It currently operates three other Long Island stores, locations in Bay Shore, Commack and Massapequa Park.

In other action Thursday, the planning board:

scheduled a Sept. 5 public hearing on a preliminary site plan application to construct a two-story, approximately 4,550-square-foot, mixed-use building on the corner of Pulaski Street and Osborn Avenue. The building would have retail uses on the first floor and six residential units on the second floor, which would range in size from 527 to 680 square feet. The site, located at 406 Osborn Avenue, is just shy of a half-acre in size and is within the Village Center zoning use district;

approved two applications by Verizon Wireless for upgrades to its existing wireless communications facilities on Edwards Avenue in Calverton and Fresh Pond Avenue in Baiting Hollow;

approved the replacement of 40 linear feet of existing bulkheading at 58 Cliff Road East in Wading River.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.