The Riverhead Planning Board at a meeting earlier this year. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The PODS storage facility in Calverton would double in size if a site plan application is approved by the Riverhead Planning Board.

The owner of the facility is proposing to build a 45,212-square-foot 35.5 foot tall addition to the existing warehouse of identical size and height.

The site at 3651 Middle Country Road is located on a 6.2-acre lot in the Industrial A zoning use district.

“The proposed addition will not change the current warehousing use of the site which is an as-of-right use under the Industrial A zoning use district,” Site Plan Reviewer Heather Trojanowski told the planning board at its meeting on Thursday.

The applicant needs to obtain a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the height of the building because the maximum height in the Industrial A district is 30 feet, Trojanowski said. Otherwise the proposal meets all dimensional regulations of the zoning code, she said. The ZBA granted a height variance for the existing building, Trojanowski told the board.

The addition will be built to the rear of the existing structure, said Gary Krupnick, owner of Calverton Distribution, which operates the PODS facility.

The Calverton warehouse is close to 90% occupied in the summer season, Krupnick said. The company also has a 40,000 to 45,000-square-foot facility in East Hampton near the airport and is planning an addition of 25,000 to 30,000 square feet there, he said.

“Our outside storage is just as important as our inside storage,” he said. The site plan shows the outside storage area moved towards the rear of the site. Krupnick said the company proposes continuing the berm and screening on the western boundary line of the site, which adjoins the Riverhead Charter School property.

“We’re working with Riverhead IDA at this point in time,” Krupnick said. “We are asking for consideration for an inducement for this project. We did go at it the first time around, but we were moving too fast for them to process. There was some political stuff and some other stuff that they just couldn’t get it done on the first building,” Krupnick said, adding he believes the IDA will support it, since “they were going to approve it last time So now we’re going in and dealing with them. And I believe she’s spoken to some of the board members and I understand that diverse support. Because it’s a continuous project that they were going to probe last time. We were just moving faster than them,” he said.

Calverton Distribution withdrew its prior application to the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency in December 2017.

Krupnick said doubling the building size will not double the number of trucks going in and out of the facility. Typically the building will have more “passive storage” capacity, meaning units that don’t move.

Trojanowski said the initial traffic analysis for the application looked at full buildout of the site, which would have been 190,000 square feet.

The planning board passed a resolution classifying the application as an Unlisted action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, assuming lead agency status for purposes of the review and issuing a negative declaration, meaning the proposal will not require additional environmental study as it is not expected to have significant negative environmental impacts.

Plan for 641,000 sq. ft. logistics center on Middle Road aired

The board on Thursday also took up the application of NorthPoint Riverhead to build a 641,000-square-foot logistics center — warehouse facility — at 1743 Middle Road in Calverton on 39 acres of presently wooded land in the Industrial A district.

Warehousing is an as-of-right use in the district. The application as proposed requires several variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals, Planner Greg Bergman told the board. The applicant is seeking an impervious surface coverage variance of approximately two acres, a height variance height for a 50-foot-tall building, where 30 feet is the maximum height and paved driveway areas within the required non-disturbed side yard.

Proposed access to the site is from Middle Road, by way of a 30-foot-wide driveway that will line up with Manor Road, Bergman said. The site plan shows 307 parking spaces for standard vehicles as well as 143 truck parking stalls.

Plans call for 36 truck loading bays on both the north and south sides of the building, Bergman said, and future expansion of an additional 39 loading bays on each side, for a total of 150 truck loading bay doors, he said.

“The property is not currently located within the boundaries of the Riverhead Water District and Sewer District, but connections to both are proposed,” Bergman said. The applicant has initiated consultations with the Riverhead Water District, he said. The town board on April 19 adopted a resolution that authorized the budget adoption for the preparation of a map and plan for the project to assess the requirements for water supply, Bergman said.

The applicant has also petitioned the Riverhead Sewer District to extend the boundaries of the district to incorporate the site.

Asked by board members about potential tenants for the site, Brian Roslund of NorthPoint Development told the board that the company develops warehouse space on spec, that is without having signed tenants up front.

“We have a wide portfolio,” Roslund said. “We have about 150 million square feet of warehouse space similar to this across the country. And a lot of Fortune 500 companies. We do business with many large scale, but also small scale local companies, too, that are looking for bulk storage,” he said. “Some of the companies that we deal with, we deal with Chewy, a lot of online retailers such as that,” he said. “We’d be looking to cater to really any online retailer or local company, that would be looking to have bulk product storage in the facility.”

Planning Board Member George Nunnaro asked it the tenants would be constantly moving products in and out.

Roslund said that would “not necessarily” be the case, as some tenants are more long-term storage, but “there is generally a flow of product coming in and storing for a certain amount of time, depending on the tenant. And then eventually it’s either being delivered locally, or even being delivered longer than that.”

He said the company anticipates the majority of traffic would be coming from and going to the Long Island Expressway, by way of Manor and Middle Country Road. For that reason, Northpoint is exploring the possibility of a direct connection from the site to the expressway.

Planning Board Member Joe Baier said the company really should look at that because the access roads to the site are “small two-lane roads”

NorthPoint’s attorney Chris Kent said the developer is pursuing that and has asked for the town’s assistance to communicate with with State Department of Transportation.

Bergman said traffic and alternative access roads will be analyzed as part of the SEQRA process and the analysis will include other proposed actions, such as the Ostad industrial subdivision of 139 acres on the south side of Middle Country Road, opposite Manor Road.

“We have engaged a traffic engineer, Stonefield, that will be engaged in traffic counts during the summer and fall, the busiest seasons out here,” Kent said.

Bergman asked if the facility could potentially be a last-mile distribution facility.

“It could be, yes. We do have your Amazons and your Walmarts in our portfolio. Generally they have a more specific need that we’re not necessarily proposing here, in terms of the site plan itself. But you know, we would never rule that out. That is something that we

The planning board passed a resolution classifying the action as a Type 1 action pursuant to SEQRA, requesting lead agency status and initiating coordinated review.

“Okay, I’d just like to say that my main goal is making sure that the residents of the town are not impacted by all of this,” Planning Board Chairperson Joann Waski said. “I know that there are homes in the surrounding area, and we realize that. We recognize that and I just want everybody to know that we care about them and we’re going to babysit this,” she said.

Scaled-down Riverhead Islamic Center plan discussed

The Riverhead Islamic Center returned to the board with a revised site plan application, proposing to build a 783-square-foot addition to an existing single-family residence at 751 Harrison Avenue. The second floor of the house will be a residence for the religious leader and his family, Planner Matt Charters told the board. In addition to site plan approval, the applicant needs a change of use from a single-family residence to a place of worship and a residence for the religious leader,

The site is approximately 1.24 acres and, located on the west side of Harrison Avenue, approximately 689 feet south of the Route 58 and approximately 1,422.8 feet north of the Harrison Avenue- School Street intersection, according to the planning department staff report prepared by Charters. It is located within the Residence A-40 zoning use district.

The Islamic Center in June 2019 obtained preliminary site plan approval for the construction of a two-story 3,357-square foot place of worship, in addition to the existing residence, which was to be used as a residence for the religious leader. That approval has expired, Charters said.

The revised proposal will require a ZBA variance for impervious surface coverage of 27.9% where the maximum permitted is 15%.

The board passed a resolution Thursday to classify the site plan application as a Type II action pursuant to SEQRA.

In other action at its May 19 meeting, the Planning Board:

Approved a three-lot residential subdivision of 2.94 acres on the southwest corner of Main Road and Forest Drive, located within the Commercial/Residential (CRC) zoning use district.

Approved a Verizon wireless site plan application for modifications to an existing wireless communications facility on a leased area of a parcel located at 6232 Middle Country Road in Wading River in the Residence B-80 zoning use district.

Approved a Dish Wireless site plan application for modifications to an existing wireless communications facility at 655 Old Country Road in Riverhead, on an existing 155-foot tall water storage tank, located in the Shopping Center zoning use district.

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