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Jamesport microbrewery plan rejected

A plan to open a microbrewery in a decaying school building in Jamesport has failed to get approval from the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals.

The five-member ZBA, which is one member short because of a resignation, voted 2-1 against the variances sought by developers Tim McCarthy and George Greene. New member Leroy Barnes, the town's former chief building inspector, abstained because he had worked on the project for the town before he retired.

The vote was the only item on the ZBA agenda Thursday night and chairman Fred McLaughlin announced the decision at the start of the meeting.

Most in attendance opposed the microbrewery, which would have been built in the nearly century-old Old Northville School House on Sound Avenue. They said the microbrewery could change the character of the community, bring noise and traffic, and that it failed to meet the legal requirements for any of the three variances being sought.

Former town board member George Bartunek, of Calverton, said the developers didn't show that the zoning relief they sought was unique to the 3.9-acre site, as is required by town code. "You must show the hardship is unique to the site and won't apply to a substantial portion of Sound Avenue," he said. "There are a lot of old buildings and a lot of old barns."

Tara Greene, of Wading River, whose husband, George, was one of the applicants, said those fears were "absurd."

"There will be no trucks running at night . . . no rock and roll," she said. "We fell in love with this building . . . it's beautiful and historic."

John Ciarelli, attorney for the developers, said he would review and discuss the ZBA decision with his clients.

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