As revitalization efforts move forward in downtown Riverhead, at least one developer believes the town board needs to come up with a comprehensive parking plan.
Aquebogue resident Ray Dickhoff, the developer behind the Summerwind project downtown, spoke at last week's town board meeting -- and asked if the town board has been looking at a parking plan for the downtown area.
Dickhoff asked if the board was considering limiting the time a resident could park downtown to three hours.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the town was seeking grant funding to study the parking issue. "I don't know if three hour parking is a good or bad thing," he said.
Dickhoff said the issue did not affect his Summerwind project at all, but reminded that other businesses downtown, such as the Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, featured a catering hall, where the average event is usually four hours.
Patrons eating and listening to music at Cody's BBQ & Grilll, he added, might also spend four hours at the eatery.
"I don't think three-hour parking is the solution in the long-term," Dickhoff said. "You have to provide parking."
Walter said ample areas are available to provide parking on the north side of Main Street, but said the fiscal climate is challenging.
Dickhoff said if 500 apartments are developed downtown, 750 parking spaces are needed just to accomodate those residents.
"You are courting developers to come to Riverhead," Dickhoff said, adding that parking was a prime concern.
The town board, Walter said, could consider changing zoning on the south side of Main Street to limit the height and size of a structure and, subsequently, limit the number of apartments allowed.
Coucilman Jim Wooten said "an extensive look" needed to be taken at the parking situation downtown. "We need a plan as to what the future will hold," he said, adding that the board had spoken about the issue informally.
Walter said one other issue on the south side is that the parking lot by the Peconic floods. "Having more apartments on the south side is problematic. Every developer I have brought here has said that," he said.
Do you think Riverhead needs a comprehensive parking plan? What do you think of three-hour parking downtown? Tell us in the comments section.