Rendering of proposed development at 205 Osborn Avenue, Riverhead.
Image: G2G Group website.

A five-story mixed use building with 39 apartments proposed for Osborn Avenue and Court Street does not require further environmental review, as it will have no adverse impacts under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, Riverhead Planning Aide Greg Bergman told the town board Thursday.

The town board last month classified the development as a Type I action under SEQRA, Bergman said. It also circulated a request for lead agency status for review of the proposal to all involved agencies, as well as the Riverhead Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners and the State Department of Transportation. 

“We have received all comments from necessary agencies,” Bergman told the board. 

He said he has drafted a resolution for the town board to declare itself lead agency and issue a negative declaration for the proposed action, concluding environmental review. It can be on the board’s agenda for its Sept. 8 meeting.

The mixed-use building is in the Railroad Avenue overlay district, which the town board established by local law in January. The district was established pursuant to a strategic transit-oriented development plan commissioned by the town in 2018 and adopted in October 2020. With the exception of a deficit of four parking spaces, the proposal is “consistent with the basic thresholds” utilized for the strategic plan and can therefore “benefit from the adopted negative declaration” for the transit-oriented development plan, Bergman said.

The proposed development, which consists of ground-floor office space in addition to 39 apartments on the upper four floors, requires 39 on-site parking spaces under the town code, but only 35 are provided. The developer is seeking to opt-in to the Riverhead Parking District to provide parking for nonresidential uses on the site, as allowed by the overlay district.  The office tenants can use the parking lot on Court Street, which is only 51-65% full at peak hours, according to a parking district analysis.

The G2D group of Huntington presented a preliminary site plan for the multimillion development to the town board last month. It is the first proposal to come before the board using the new overlay district, which aims to spur revitalization of the area in the vicinity of the LIRR station.

The town board agreed to move ahead. However, Councilwoman Catherine Kent asked if there was an analysis of the water pressure near the building in case of a fire. Bergman said that although he had forwarded the information to the Board of Fire Commissioners, he had not received a response back. Kent said she wants to receive their input and review the Environmental Assessment Form for the project before the board votes on the resolution.

“I’ve looked at the plans and right now you’ve got a closed dilapidated building and I think this will be a nice enhancement to that area,” Councilman Ken Rothwell said.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said the site plan for the project is not yet finished and will cover Kent’s concerns.

“We can look at all these details as they come together,” Aguiar said. “The site plan will cover all those. So I’m going to say that we move forward and see where it goes. And we’re going to make sure all the safety measures — that is our goal to make sure all those safety concerns are — I don’t want to stop any potential project,” she said.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]