The Riverhead Planning Board at its Nov. 17 meeting. Photo: Alek Lewis

A site plan for a drive-in restaurant and a 5,000-square foot retail building on Route 58 and Osborn Avenue gained final approval Thursday from the Riverhead Planning Board.

The board voted 3-1 to approve the site plan, with member Joseph Baier voting no and member George Nunnaro absent.

“I think this with the extra building, in addition to the restaurant, I think there’s an over-intensification or overuse, even though I’m sure it’s allowed by code,” Baier said. “And I just think it’s going to really cause traffic problems.”

When the site plan was initially aired in 2015, the drive-in restaurant, with 20 indoor seats and 54 outdoor seats, was slated to be a Sonic, but the fast-food chain subsequently backed out, representatives of the property owner told town officials a year later. They said at the time that the owner was moving ahead with its application and hoped to rekindle the interest of the Sonic franchisee in the site.

“As I understand it right now, Sonic is not involved in negotiations” with the owner, Riverhead Planner Greg Bergman told Planning Board members at their Nov. 17 meeting.

“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to get the approval, potentially get Sonic back in the loop,” Bergman said. He reminded the board that it does not approve a particular tenancy for a site. “So if there was another restaurant that wanted to kind of execute a drive-in style restaurant, they could do so at the site,” Bergman said.

The Town Board approved a special permit for the drive-in restaurant in January and the Planning Board granted preliminary site plan approval in May.

The 1.78-acre parcel, currently vacant land, has frontage on both Route 58 and Osborn Avenue and wraps around an existing gasoline station on the northwest corner of that intersection. The property is in the Business Center zoning district.

In other action at its meeting Thursday, the Planning Board:

  • granted final site plan approval for a two-story, 20,000-square-foot self-storage warehouse at 817 Pulaski Street, a 3.5-acre parcel located on the southwest corner of Pulaski Street and Marcy Avenue. The site is located in the Industrial C zoning district.
  • granted final site plan approval for a four-unit townhouse development on a .2-acre lot at 48 Third Street in Riverhead, located in the Downtown Center 4 zoning district.
  • granted administrative site plan approval to Peconic Bay Medical Center for the construction of a 13,744-square-foot asphalt parking lot at 1225 Ostrander Avenue, on the former McGann-Mercy campus. The lot will provide 44 parking stalls. The property, comprising just under 24 acres, is located in the Residence A-40 zoning district. The hospital last week gained approval from the ZBA to change the use of the junior high school building on the site from school to offices.
  • granted a six-month extension of a preliminary site plan approval for the demolition of a single family residence and barn and the construction of a 3,975-square-foot automated car wash with an accessory office and bathroom facility, plus nine self-serve vacuum stations, on the 1.4-acre parcel located on the southeast corner of Route 58 and Pulaski Street Extension in the Business Center zoning district.

– Alek Lewis contributed reporting.

The survival of local journalism depends on your support.
We are a small family-owned operation. You rely on us to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring this important service to our community.
Support RiverheadLOCAL today.