Residents staged their own version of in Riverhead on Thursday night, as they peppered the planning board with concerns over the proposed project.
On Thursday night, members of the "Save Main Road" group and others turned out to outline their concerns regarding the project to the Riverhead town planning board.
After listening to concerns from residents, the planning board voted to accept the state environmental quality review act (SEQRA) findings adopted earlier by the town board.
The application, submitted by nvolves a 42,000 square foot plan that includes bistros, retail establishments and medical offices, which would be sited on Route 25 across from Cliff's Elbow Room.
In April, despite hours of public protest, the Riverhead town board voted to approve that would allow for bistros and professional offices at a proposed development in Jamesport.
"Save Main Road" is a group organized with a mission to preserve land and community character on a stretch of Route 25 from County Road 105 east to Laurel, to the Southold Town line.
Georgette Keller, president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association and Save Main Road organization founder, presented a letter from the civic association to the planning board addressing key points on Thursday night.
According to Keller, at Thursday's meeting, Westhampton attorney Hermon "Bo" Bishop -- who was group and provided concessions in his fees to provide oversight during the site plan review process regarding the controversial Village at Jamesport proposal -- requested a public hearing on the Village of Jamesport site plan and a new site plan in response to the final environmental impact statement.
Keller said the planning board promised to require a new site plan, and that public hearings would be a part of that process. "Now the question remains: 'Will they hear us? Will they do what they know is right in keeping with the master plan? Will they act in a responsible manner and Save Main Road'?" she said after the meeting.
"Save Main Road" member Larry Simms asked if a a supplemental environmental impact statement would follow and was told that it would not. He questioned the standing of the applicant.
On Friday morning, Simms said the board has the "complete discretion" to require a supplemental environmental impact statement. He said final environmental impact statement, as it stands, "is riddled with gross errors" and "is fatally flawed."
Simms also said although many are pleased that the planning board will hold public hearings on the site plan, public hearings "solve nothing in and of themselves. If I was sitting on that board and I wanted to get rid of a problem, what I would do it to hold a public hearing. I'd suffer though it and, in the end, I'd do what I wanted." Public hearings, Simms said, do not "oblige the board to take any particular action."
Simms said he has a problem with the planning board's decision to live with the FEIS as it stands. "This is where a line is drawn in the sand and I say, 'Not this time,'" he said. "'You're not just going to give us lip service and then break the law."
In addition, Simms questioned the amount of excavation involved in the project and said during the six weeks of work, there would be a constant stream of trucks every day to remove sand.
Simms also referenced the town board's decision to grant special use permits and said "Save Main Road" members were planning toand file an Article 78 to appeal the decision in response.
Other concerns raised by Simms included the potential negative impact on area businesses, especially restaurants, and said the proposed tax benefit to the town was overstated.
Other members of the public, including adjacent property owners Tom and Anne Kowalsick, said they feared soil removal and a change in the topography of the land.
Flooding is a critical concern, said resident Terri Fetten, adding that excavation would exacerbate an already present problem. Traffic concerns were another consideration, she said.
Mark McDuffy told the planning board he believes there is a problem with the process; he said residents are not being listened to. McDuffy said development spreading beyone Route 105 is "unacceptable."
Other residents echoed traffic concerns and said the project would result in negative impacts on quality of life in the area.
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