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Some residents opposed to proposed luxury apartments in downtown Riverhead

Riverhead Town Hall at 200 Howell Ave. in

Riverhead Town Hall at 200 Howell Ave. in Riverhead on June 5. Credit: James Carbone

A plan for a proposed four-story, 36-unit apartment building on East Main Street in downtown Riverhead is encountering opposition from residents who contend the project is out of character for the area.

The building, planned for 331 East Main St., is described as a market-rate luxury apartment complex that would target professionals such as doctors and nurses, Gregory DeRosa — CEO, managing partner and founder of Huntington-based developer G2D Development — said at a public hearing Oct. 16 at Riverhead Town Hall. The developers are seeking site plan approval for the building and a special permit.

The project was first proposed in October 2018 and originally was to be five stories and 42 units. The developer scaled back the plans after receiving feedback from the town’s planning staff and town board members. Town officials have said they want to limit future construction of five-story buildings along Main Street.

“We believe that there is significant demand for this type of product, and we think we can deliver it,” DeRosa said.

Christopher Kent, the attorney representing 331 East Main Street LLC, a subsidiary of G2D Development, added that while the property is currently taxed at about $18,000 a year, the developers may seek additional tax abatements to “allow for some financial stability for the project.”

Residents at the hearing expressed concerns about the size and appearance of the building.

William C. Van Helmond, a Jamesport resident and president of the Greater Jamesport Civic Association, said that while he appreciated the building being scaled down, he feels that it “doesn’t really conform to downtown Riverhead.”

Janice Scherer, of Wading River, said she didn't think the building was proportionately scaled and that it lacked any historic features that would help it blend in with the aesthetic of the downtown area.

The plans had been “well-received” by the town’s Architectural Review Board and Landmarks Preservation Commission, Kent said.

Town board members said the building would offer more housing options in the area and that market-rate apartments could help with downtown revitalization efforts.

“Market-rate apartment investment is the next step we need to keep up with revitalization,” Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said.

Residents can submit written comments on the proposal until Friday.

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