Deputy Supervisor Devon Higgins presided over the Feb. 7 Riverhead Town Board meeting in the absence of Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, who joined the meeting by Zoom. Photo: Alek Lewis

The proposed Suffolk Theater expansion and a new mixed-use building on McDermott Avenue both got preliminary site plan approval from the Town Board Tuesday.

The nearly 60-foot tall addition to the rear of the Suffolk will consist of an expanded stage and backstage area, including a new green room, dressing rooms, restrooms, kitchenette, laundry room, showers, and mechanical rooms. The addition also includes approximately 2,970 square feet of first-floor retail space and 28 market-rate rental apartments on floors two through five — 20 studio units and eight one-bedroom units.

The Zenith Building will be built on a one-eighth-acre parcel on the east side of McDermott Avenue opposite Riverview Lofts apartments. The building would consist of nine market-rate rental apartments above two ground-floor commercial spaces totaling more than 2,100-square-feet, and will stand 49 feet tall, with a total height of 58 feet including architectural elements.

Final site plan approvals are conditioned on other the applicants obtaining approvals from the Riverhead Sewer District for proposed connection to the treatment plant. The final approval for the Zenith building also requires several site-specific conditions.

MORE COVERAGE: Suffolk Theater five-story, mixed-use addition and four-story, mixed-use building on McDermott Avenue to receive preliminary site plan approvals

In other action at Tuesday’s meeting:

The Town Board heard public comments on a proposed water conservation law during a public hearing that ended with with board concluding the proposed legislation needs additional work.

MORE COVERAGE: After public opposition at hearing, proposed water conservation code will be revised

The board authorized the supervisor to sign a license agreement with Cousins Paintball to allow the company to use approximately 12.5 acres of land at the Calverton Enterprise Park south of the Isaac Dog Park.

Cousins Paintball will pay the town a license fee of $5,000 per month for use of the property. The initial term of the license shall be for a period of one year, expected to commence on April 1, according to the agreement authorized Tuesday.

The term of the license will renew automatically five times for six-month terms. Either the town or the paintball company can choose not to renew or to terminate the agreement on 30 days written notice. The license and the monthly fee are both suspended for the month of January due to the annual shotgun season for deer, when the town allows licensed hunters to hunt for deer on town-owned property at the enterprise park.

The property subject to the license agreement is located on one of the five lots not being sold to Calverton Aviation & Technology, pursuant to Riverhead’s contract of sale with CAT. The sale to CAT is pending and its completion depends on a multi-step arrangement worked out among the town, the purchaser and the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency.

The lot in question is lot number two on the eight-lot subdivision map that got preliminary approval from the Riverhead Planning Board in 2019, but has not been finalized.

Lot number two is just shy of 100 acres. Part of the lot is dedicated municipal parkland, the 62-acre Veterans Memorial Park. The remaining acreage in lot number two is not dedicated parkland but has been set aside for recreational uses, according to town officials. The town has more flexibility to enter into license and lease agreements affecting the portion of the site that is not dedicated parkland.

The approximately 12.5 acres being licensed to Cousins Paintball is located partly within the dedicated parkland and partly in an area adjacent to the dedicated parkland, all within lot number two.

The Town Board on Tuesday also authorized amendments to previously approved resolutions in order to relocate the domed ice rink and outdoor deck rink to be constructed by Peconic Hockey Foundation at the EPCAL park. The relocation will move both rink facilities completely outside the dedicated parkland portion of lot number two.

MORE COVERAGE: Town eyes agreement to site Cousins Paintball at Calverton municipal park

The board scheduled public hearings on code changes intended to assist downtown revitalization by prohibiting certain land uses and giving police enhanced enforcement powers to eliminate certain unwanted activities downtown.

The public hearing on a proposed new “Downtown Riverfront Overlay District” was set for the Feb. 22 Town Board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Public hearings on proposed changes to the town’s “Zero Tolerance,” “Loitering” and “Alcoholic Beverages” codes were scheduled for the March 22 Town Board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

MORE COVERAGE: Riverhead aims to make downtown more ‘family friendly’ with new zoning and laws to crack down on unwanted behavior

The board also scheduled a public hearing on a proposed code revision to revise the requirements for proof of permission to use private property for recreational motor vehicles such as ATVs. That hearing will take place at the board’s March 7 meeting, which begins at 2 p.m.

Special event permit application were approved for:

  • Chicken Kidz consignment sale at Riverhead Polish Hall, April 18-23;
  • Riverhead Rotary Garden Festival at Tanger Outlets (Rt. 58 parking lot) which will begin May 4;
  • Dashan Briggs Memorial Foundation 5K on May 28 at the Calverton Enterprise Park; and
  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Grangebel Park and along Peconic Riverfront on Sept. 30 (rain date of Oct. 1).

The board authorized the publication of a help wanted ad for part-time police officers. Application deadline is March. 2. For information, call the Riverhead Police Department at 631-727-4500 ext. 315.

The board also authorized a $306,000 budget transfer from unassigned fund balance for the purchase of five police vehicles (2023 Ford Interceptors), with funding anticipated from Riverhead Solar II community benefits agreement, which is still being negotiated, according to town officials.

The board accepted the resignations of accountant Emily Toth and maintenance mechanic Erik Williams. It also accepted the retirement of maintenance mechanic Gary Hubbard.

Members of the Riverhead Senior Citizens Advisory Committee were reappointed (Shirley Coverdale, Clifford Berry and Richard Morgan) and appointed (Tara Anglim, Kelsey Holts.)

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