January 15 - NYS Appellate Court has denied RNPC legal standing to pursue Knightland lawsuit. Riverhead Town Board approves
land clearing permit the next week to pave way for Knightland tourist mall on the west end of Sound Avenue.
September 27 - NYS Appellate Court grants the RNPC a restraining order vs. Riverhead Town to prevent it from issuing land clearing, excavation or building permits for the Knightland tourist mall on the west end of Sound Avenue. Read News-Review story.
Photo courtesy of Design Plus
The Corridor Study 2011-12
The Corridor Study commenced in October 2011 and was adopted in October 2012. The Town Board hired the planning firm BFJ to complete the study and prepare a land use plan that would suggest possible amendments to the zoning code and update the Comprehensive Plan for the Wading River Route 25A. corridor. The purpose of the study was to help balance future growth with the desire to preserve the character, quality of life, economy and environment of Wading River.
The Town released a series of drafts in 2012, which you can access below. The latest documents were the ones that were adopted and subject of the public hearing that was held on August 21, 2012.
The study of this area has entered a new phase. Although the Town Board did adopt some zoning changes on October 2, 2012, it indicated that the Planning Department would continue to evaluate the possibility of re-zoning on parcels on the south side of Route 25A.
Town Board Resolution 427 requires developers to create natural screening between 25A and
any new multi-family homes they build in
(April 16, 2012)
Wading River 25A. Draft Plan Update
(February 22, 2012), with notes to clarify recommendations.
Wading River Route 25A. Preliminary Strategies (February 4, 2012), with notes by the RNPC
to clarify what the recommendations do and
Community Planning Forum and Business Focus Group Summary Report
Wading River Route 25A Preliminary Strategies (January 12, 2012)
Although the Town Board did adopt a few positive zoning changes as a result of the W.R. 25A Corridor Study, they still left the potential for over 200,000 sq. ft. of stores, restaurants and banks to be built within this small stretch of road. All told, five properties (north side of 25A across from CVS and eastward next to the Valero) were re-zoned to allow offices and multi-family homes instead of retail stores and offices.
During the study period, the Town also approved two significant projects: one for a tourist mall at the end of Sound Avenue and another for a shopping center just east of the CVS on 25A. It is likely that one or even both may go forward; to the tune of nearly 90,000 sf of retail. The rezoning action that prohibited another potential shopping center, and a site plan rejection that kicked out still another project (this time for a catering hall), have resulted in lawsuits by two different landowners who claim their rights were violated by the Town.
All we can do right now is remain vigilant and be prepared to contribute to the process when the situation calls for it.
*Landowner seeking to change easements
Between May's farm stand and the proposed Venezia shopping center,
this proposal is for two office buildings in two phases on this narrow
1.3-acre lot. Phase 1 = a 4,320 sq. ft. veterinary hospital in the back and
Phase 2 = a 3,840 sq. ft. office building in the front. This parcel is also in
Pine Barrens Compatible Growth Area. Click Here to View the 6333 Realty Site Plan (November 15, 2011)
*Site Plan approved by Planning Board on December 6, 2012 and although there's been no activity, approval is valid for 3 years
Just east of CVS in an open field, approximately 52,000 sq. ft. of development including a drive-up bank, restaurant, more stores and (possibly) professional/medical offices. Although this land had not been zoned for retail when the Town adopted its Master Plan, a court overruled the newly adopted zoning, citing Town errors. This property is also in the Pine Barrens Compatible Growth Area where stricter standards are supposed to be adhered to in order to protect our drinking water and the environment. Click Here to the View Central Square Site Plan (January 16, 2012)
*Town Board passes resolution to allow land clearing upon dismissal of RNPC suit against Town approval
This 37,000+ sq. ft. proposal calls for 24-29 stores where the Sound Avenue historic rural corridor meets 25A. The project's layout, and plans for a food court and a tourist information center, make it clear Knightland is intended to attract tourists and other visitors. Yet, its Business CR zoning is only for stores, "geared primarily toward providing daily services to residents in adjacent residential areas" and clearly does not allow for destination retail. Two entrances would be located on Sound between the light and Fairway Dr. in
an already congested area. The Town approved this plan on 12/15/11; the RNPC filed suit to overturn the approval on 12/16/11 (read more about RNPC position). Click Here to View the Knightland Site Plan (September 6, 2011)
*Dead: Fees never paid. No indication landowner wants to move forward with plan
42,000 sq. ft. of retail, including a bank, three restaurants or a 250-seat restaurant, and two more 10,000 sq. ft buildings filled with stores. This 6.3-acre parcel just east of the funeral home is within the Pine Barrens Compatible Growth Area, where stricter development standards are supposed to be adhered to in order to protect our drinking water and the environment. Click Here to View the Venezia Square Site Plan (September 18, 2008)
*Dead: Plan violates zoning adopted on October 2, 2012, suit filed vs. rezoning in February 2013
This fourth proposed shopping center for 25A in Wading River is just over 45,000 sq. ft. and includes two restaurants (one 240- and one 130-seat). One proposed building is over 22,000 sq. ft. (or nearly 5x the size of CVS across the street). It would be built on prime agricultural land. Click Here to View the North Shore Country Plaza Site Plan (July 15, 2011)
*Dead: Site plan denied by Planning Department on May 3, 2012. Great Rock filed lawsuit to overturn on July 19, 2012
This extension would include a 6,500+ sq. ft. catering hall, "second floor offices" with a balcony, a 6,200 sq. ft. basement and more parking and lighting. The catering facility would sit a few hundred feet away from homes despite residential zoning, which does not allow for this use. Covenants that run with the land, put there by the then Town Board to protect the surrounding homeowners, also prohibit this expansion by any reasonable reading. Great Rock shares a single entrance/exit with the 52 homes and both let out onto Sound Avenue across from the proposed entrance/exit to the Knightland mall. Click Here to View the Great Rock Site Plan (February 14, 2011)