The iconic "Welcome to Polish Town U.S.A." sign will be relocated but will remain on the site of the new mixed-use building on the corner of Pulaski Street and Osborn Avenue. File photo: Denise Civiletti

A two-story, mixed-use building on the corner of Pulaski Street and Osborn Avenue gained preliminary site plan approval from the Riverhead Planning Board Thursday.

The vacant lot at the Polish Town intersection, just under a half-acre in size, will be improved with a 4,556-square-foot building having retail uses on the ground floor and six rental apartments on the second floor. The apartments, all one-bedroom units, will range in size from 508 square feet to 688 square feet.

A resolution approving the preliminary site plan had been on the planning board’s agenda for two months, but objections from member Joe Baier to size of the apartments — which he thought were too small — and from vice chairman Ed Densieski regarding the aesthetics of the building — which he thought did not reflect the character of Polish Town — held up the board’s approval.

Baier was absent from Thursday’s meeting. Chairman Stan Carey noted Baier’s concern about the size of the apartments. “But they are allowed by the code, so that’s not for us to consider,” Carey said.

Densieski repeated his concerns about the building’s design. “We kind of wanted it to be more like an anchor in Polish Town,” he said. “And while you say it’s a beautiful building I think you can agree this can go anywhere.”

Pointing to the Mattituck McDonald’s as an example — which he said has “gold leaf golden arches” — Densieski said, “They did it right. Everyone who comes to Riverhead always seems to strive for mediocrity,” Densieski said. “And we usually attain it.”

Densieski said he was willing to vote to approve the preliminary site plan on the condition that the applicant return with revised elevations that show a building that reflects the heritage of Polish Town. The resolution was amended to require the submission of revised building elevations.

The iconic “Welcome to Polish Town” sign on the site of the proposed development will remain on the property, planning aide Greg Bergman noted.

Courtesy photo

PBMC oncology center approved for Route 58 site

The board also granted administrative site plan approval to Peconic Bay Medical Center/Northwell Health to convert a portion of the vacant building space in the former P.C. Richard’s store on Route 58, east of the hospital, into an oncology center.

Part of the 21,156-square-foot building is currently occupied by Pro Health/East End Radiation Oncology.

Peconic Bay/Northwell is planning to use a 7,740-square-foot portion of the building as a medical oncology infusion center as part of its comprehensive cancer program, according to PBMC president and CEO Andrew Mitchell.

The town code requires 114 parking spaces for the two medical office uses and the site can provide 77, resulting in a deficiency, on paper of 37 spaces. But the radiation oncology office is not a typical medical office use in that a large part of that office is dedicated to a vault for the linear accelerator used to provide radiation treatments, Mitchell said. Only one patient is in that space at a time and it is staffed by only a couple of people, he said.

But the town code does not distinguish between a typical medical office and a facility like that for purposes of parking calculations.

Peconic Bay Medical Center promised to require its staff members park off-site and the planning board agreed not to require a recorded covenant for that purpose until issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

Mitchell alluded to ongoing negotiations with the Diocese of Rockville Centre for the possible purchase of the McGann-Mercy High School property — where the hospital is already leasing a parking lot to serve its main campus on Roanoke Avenue.

He told the planning board he was “not at liberty to discuss [it] publicly” and after the meeting declined comment.

Edwards Sports Center, Aquebogue office/retail shop, subdivisions approved

In other action Thursday, the planning board:

Granted administrative site plan approval to “Plaza 58,” the conversion of the former Edwards Sports Center store into four retail stores. The existing 6,306-square-foot vacant building is located at 1352 East Main Street, at the southwest corner of Route 58 and East Main Street. The 35,324-square-foot site will also be improved with a new sanitary system, new stormwater drainage structures, a 5,000 gallon propane tank, new exterior lighting and parking lot improvements.

Granted administrative site plan approval to 498 Main Rd LLC for the conversion of an existing 1,327-square-foot two-story, single-family residence at 498 Main Road, Aquebogue into an office and the conversion of an existing 794-square-foot detached accessory structure into a retail building.

Approved a three-lot minor subdivision of an existing 5.59-acre parcel at 5314 Parker Road (State Route 25A), creating two 1.84-acre lots, and one 1.91-acre lot in the Residence B-80 zoning use district.

Approved a two-lot minor subdivision of an existing 2.26-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the intersection of Middle Country Road and Kay Road in Calverton.

Correction: This article has been revised to correct two errors in the section about the Peconic Bay Medical Center/Northwell Health oncology center. The story incorrectly stated the number of parking spaces required by town code and the stated deficiency in the site plan.. The story also incorrectly stated that the planning board would not require a covenant for the off-site parking accommodation granted to the hospital. The covenant is required but the board agreed to allow the covenant to be filed prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy rather than prior to the signing of the site plan for recording.

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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.