Architect's rendering of HK Ventures' proposed industrial complex on Middle Country Road in Calverton. Image:BLD Architecture

 The court last month dismissed the developer’s lawsuit challenging the Riverhead Planning Board’s decision in April to incorporate the intersection improvement into its findings on the developer’s application. 

The Riverhead Planning Board’s requirement that no building permit be issued for the project until after completion of the intersection improvements was upheld by the court as rational and “not arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion.”  The Planning Board “considered all of the statutory factors and used the requisite balancing test,” Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Joseph Santorelli wrote in the Dec. 1 decision and order, which was entered . 

Attorneys for the Great Neck-based HK Ventures yesterday filed both a notice of appeal and a motion for leave to reargue the case.

The law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, representing HK Ventures in the lawsuit, argues in a memorandum of law supporting the motion that the trial court erred dismissing the lawsuit. 

The lawyers argue that the dismissal, which came without notice to the parties, did not address two causes of action contained in the hybrid action, which combined a petition to review the Planning Board’s action under Article 78 of the state’s Civil Practice Law and Rules with a summons and complaint challenging the board’s action on grounds that it violated the state and federal constitutions. They also argue that the court dismissed the case without warning despite not allowing the opportunity for the plaintiff to obtain documents that the court itself ordered. 

The court’s order, the attorneys argue, “by its plain terms, considers only the branch of Petitioner’s pleading that seeks Article 78 relief.”

The town has until Jan. 18 to reply to the motion, which is scheduled to be heard by the court on Jan. 25. 

If the court denies HK Venture’s motion for leave to reargue, the appeal will remain pending as long as HK Ventures perfects its appeal — files the required documents comprising the record of the trial court case—  with the Appellate Division within six months of the date it filed the notice of appeal (in this case, by July 4.)

The HK Ventures development proposal consists of 412,000 square feet of development in eight buildings for warehousing and manufacturing on 30 acres of vacant land on the north side of Middle Country Road (Route 25) in Calverton, east of Fresh Pond Avenue. The developer’s site plan gained preliminary approval from the Planning Board in September. The approval included the condition requiring completion of the Edwards Avenue intersection improvements before the town can issue a building permit for the project.

The HK Ventures proposal is exempt from the six-month moratorium on the processing and/or review of applications for development in industrial zones in Calverton that the Town Board adopted Jan. 3. The moratorium exempted projects for which a positive findings statement under the State Environmental Quality Review Act has already been issued. The positive findings statement, including the Edward Avenue intersection condition, was adopted by the Planning Board April 20. 

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.