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Riverhead to discuss suing Stop & Shop over noise complaints

Trucks unload by the rear of Stop &

Trucks unload by the rear of Stop & Shop in Riverhead, adjacent to the Glenwood Village retirement community. Credit: Randee Daddona

Riverhead officials will discuss whether to sue a Stop & Shop supermarket on Old Country Road over noise that has spurred complaints by residents of a nearby retirement community. 

The owner and operator of Glenwood Village, a 55-and-older private residential retirement community on Old Country Road, said between eight and 10 residents since 2010 have sounded off about too much noise during the daytime hours.

“Just picture being a retiree living 50 feet away from the English muffin trucks, other trucks, the Peapod  loading that happens 30, 40 times a day, you name it,” said W. Brian Stark, 57, of Jamesport. “There are pallets dropping, refrigeration units, backup beeping noises ... any noise that you can think of that’s associated with unloading and delivery, we’ve gotten.”

The town board’s Jan. 15 meeting agenda includes authorization for Town Attorney Robert Kozakiewicz to commence legal action against the supermarket.

The town would only initiate legal action if the parties involved cannot reach a solution, he said.

Kozakiewicz said Friday that town noise testing in 2018 found that activities and operations in the supermarket’s loading areas south of and to the rear of the store “were causing sound emissions in excess of what the town code permits.” 

The town has issued noise violations against the supermarket, and the case is pending in Riverhead Justice Court.

Stark said he has asked Stop & Shop representatives several times to install a sound barrier.

"We have heard the community’s concerns and are exploring options for a solution,” Jennifer Brogan, director of communications at Stop & Shop, said in a Friday statement.

Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio offered the resolution at the board’s Jan. 10 work session.

Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith initially argued it would be in the town’s best interests to first view a noise study  supermarket officials recently submitted to the town and take at least one week to review it before considering legal action.

Taking the supermarket to court "will not only be a big expense for everyone involved, but will also extend the amount of time it will take to resolve it,” Jens-Smith said.

Giglio disagreed. “(The resolution would) light a fire under them and it compels (Stop & Shop) to do what they should have done,” she said.

A meeting was scheduled Jan. 8  among supermarket representatives, Stark and town officials, Jens-Smith and Kozakiewicz said, but supermarket officials did not attend.

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