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Residents oppose Calverton cidery’s plan to add outdoor speakers

Owners of the Riverhead Ciderhouse in Calverton, seen

Owners of the Riverhead Ciderhouse in Calverton, seen on April 7, 2017, are seeking an amendment to allow outdoor speakers, a patio and other items at the cidery. Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

A Calverton cidery’s proposed changes to allow outdoor speakers, a patio and other items has drawn the ire of residents, who fear approval could create noise and other problems in the historic corridor where it is located.

Owners of the Riverhead Ciderhouse, at 2711 Sound Ave., are seeking an amendment to the site plan from the Riverhead Planning Board. The amendment would allow the 8,000-square-foot cidery, which opened in March, to have outdoor music piped through two wall-mounted speakers, change the size of its “Grab & Go Snack Bar,” add two pizza ovens, 56 parking spaces, a 3,186-square-foot outdoor patio area and adjacent masonry block wall, and also alter the approved landscaping on the 7.1-acre site.

Some residents, including several who spoke against the application at a Sept. 7 public hearing, are worried the changes would not fit in with the Sound Avenue historic corridor, which includes several homes and farms that date to the mid-1700s. The state issued the designation in 1975.

Rex Farr, a Calverton farmer and president of the Greater Calverton Civic Association, said Friday that his group thinks the cidery’s proposal would bring unwelcome change to the area.

“As much as we appreciate the great job [owner John King] has done inside [the cidery], keep it inside,” said Farr. “You don’t need outdoor speakers.”

Calverton resident Michael Foley said he worries an approval of the amendment will set a precedence on outdoor noise that will prompt similar businesses to follow suit.

Bryan Lewis, the Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles LLP attorney representing Riverhead Ciderhouse, said the cidery had previously done noise testing of the speakers “at the highest capacity” and found they were at levels within town code requirements and would not cause any disruption to neighbors.

Residents also complained the cidery made changes to the building and site without notifying the board first.

Stanley Carey, the board’s chairman, said Friday that that was not the case. He said the only major change the cidery has brought before the board involves outdoor space.

The issues on the inside “are very minor” and were the result of construction changes made due to incompatibility at the business’ site, which the board sees often, Carey said.

“There is a perception that we did what we wanted to do there, but that’s not the case,” Lewis said.

On whether the cider house would affect the historic corridor, Lewis said he and King are sure the changes being proposed will contribute positively to the area.

Carey said that as a result of the comments at the Sept. 7 meeting, the board asked for and is awaiting the results of a sound study from an engineer consultant before making a decision on the application.

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