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Owners blame construction for damage to Riverhead properties

A view of the home of Arlene Doroszka

A view of the home of Arlene Doroszka of Riverhead taken on Saturday, near an ongoing construction project. Credit: Randee Daddona

Owners of two properties in downtown Riverhead’s historic Main Street district are blaming interior cracks and other damage to their buildings on an ongoing construction project that started last month just across the street.

Arlene Doroszka, whose home on East Main Street is more than 100 years old, recently filed a complaint with the Town of Riverhead’s Building Department claiming the pile driving that began in March at Riverview Lofts — a five-story, 116-unit mixed-use commercial and retail apartment building on McDermott Avenue and East Main Street being built by Jericho-based developer Georgica Green Ventures — left cracks on the walls in hallways on the first and second floor of her home.

“This pounding, constant pounding, is moving my chairs, making cracks in my home,” said Doroszka, whose late husband, Dr. Vincent A. Doroszka, bought the property in 1933.

Though her home is insured, Doroszka said she did not believe her insurance would cover the damages.

Members of the neighboring Riverhead United Methodist Church said their 150-year-old building — which draws about 65 parishioners each week for services — has also been damaged because of the construction work.

Barbara Mann, chairwoman of the church’s board of trustees, said the pile driving across the street, which normally takes place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, has caused several cracks to the church’s walls, floor and the ceiling, as well as crooked doors and the bowing of several stained-glass windows. Several pews have also begun to separate from the walls, she said.

Both the church and the Doroszka home were “contributing properties” in the downtown Riverhead Main Street National Register Historic District, Richard Wines, chairman of Riverhead’s Landmarks Preservation Committee, said. That means they are both considered “a significant historic resource” in the downtown area, Wines added.

Mann said church officials don’t know how much repair costs will be, as construction is still underway. The building is insured, but Mann said she did not know how much would be covered. She added that officials have retained an attorney, but declined to specify plans regarding further action.

Brad Hammond, senior building inspector for the Riverhead Building Department, said last week that his department was made aware of the situation and the town was working with all parties to find a solution.

David Gallo, president of Georgica Green Ventures, said in a statement last week that his firm had engineers review the properties and installed monitors at the Doroszka home that would report any vibrations in the surrounding area.

“Neither our engineers nor the vibration monitors have demonstrated impacts that cause any concern to date,” Gallo said. “We will continue to monitor the situation carefully.”

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