Special Use Permits Should be Granted for Truly Special Purposes ONLY
The Riverhead Master Plan was supposed to protect the rural character of Main Road and the hamlets along its scenic path, in part, by limiting development east of County Road 105. Yet recently, several projects have been presented that go against the intent of the plan. As developmental pressures push east, the whole character of our communities east of CR 105 may be forever changed.
This Tuesday, April 3, at 2 PM in the Riverhead Town Hall, the Town Board is set to vote on granting a Special Use Permit to the proposed “Village at Jamesport” project. Unless the Board accepts requests to postpone its vote so that the community has more time to research and review the project application, this meeting will be the LAST chance for your voice to be heard on the matter.
What is this project all about? Here’s a quick snapshot:
— 10 buildings
— 25 stores, offices & food service space totaling over 40,000 SF
— 4,000 SF of “bistros” are included which are vaguely defined and threaten existing local restaurants
— the developers have rejected requests to offer parking for other Main Road shops
— includes several acres of pavement
— overpromised $172,000 in annual taxes to the Town in its project plan
— may apply for total tax abatement for 10 years!
Our towns, villages and hamlets are already burdened with empty stores and offices. A project of this size next to the quaint historic district of Jamesport would forever change the landscape. It would also throw into question not only the role of the Master Plan, but also the role of elected officials who should be actively protecting not just the letter on the plan, but also its intent and the voice of the community…especially as times and conditions have changed since the plan was last revised and adopted.
The North Fork Environmental Council (NFEC) believes that as the developer has had several years to design and refine its proposal several times over, it is not unreasonable to postpone this vote and allow the community ample time to bring the needed resources to bear to fully examine the project in context of the Master Plan and the Special Use Permit process.
If such a postponement is not granted, the NFEC asks its members and other Riverhead residents to either show up at Tuesday’s meeting or call/fax/email the Town Board asking its members to vote “No” on granting this Special Use Permit.
Like Sound Avenue and the pressures it continues to face, Main Road is a special part of the North Fork as it meanders from CR 105 out to Orient Point. As development pressures from the west continue to increase, Town, village and hamlet residents need to come together and let their voices be heard.
You can view the full flier put out by the Save Main Road organization by clicking the link below.
The NFEC is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Its core mission as a grassroots organization is to increase public awareness of key issues, educate the public and public officials about important environmental and quality of life topics, and help the public’s voice to be heard regarding the formation key public programs, policies and legislation.