Town Hears Gabrielsen Bistro Proposal

Riverhead Town Board members, during a work session on May 17 discussed a special permit application for The Glass Greenhouse and Farm Market located at 1350 Main Road in Jamesport.

Greenhouse owner Walter Gabrielsen attended the meeting with attorney Jaret Weber to address his special permit application to turn 4.4 percent of the 5000-square-foot, two-story, Glass Greenhouse into a 225-square-foot bistro with 15 seats. Ninety-four new parking spots were included in the plan.

Gabrielsen said the bistro would be a family eatery, selling homemade soups, sandwiches, and salads. He said the order-at-the-counter bistro would not offer table service or sell alcohol.

The Glass Greenhouse opened in late 2013 and currently functions as a farm stand. Greg Bergman from the planning department noted that the venue is “currently operating in a manner which exceeds the town code definition of a farm stand.”

Bergman also stated that the town currently has pending litigation against Gabrielsen due to a farm stand code violation for selling products not produced regionally or on site.

Bergman said the proposal of a bistro isn’t out of character for the area, it’s not unreasonably close to schools or churches, and that the lack of alcohol made it more feasible. He added that it would need approval from the Suffolk County Department of Health and Wastewater Management and the Food Control Unit.

“The biggest thing is the ongoing litigation with the owner and I wonder if it will ameliorate or exacerbate the situation,” said Weber.

In closing, the board agreed to have a resolution prepared for the next meeting to schedule a public hearing for the special permit application on the condition that no site work be commenced until Gabrielsen receives site plan approval.

The Riverhead Town Board’s meeting on May 16 included a public hearing for the purpose of the proposed increase and improvement of the facilities of the Riverhead Water District. Specifically, the board considered a budget increase for the construction of a new groundwater storage tank at Plant 15 on Tuthills Lane in Riverhead at a maximum cost of $4.3 million.

In attendance were Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, Councilman James Wooten, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Councilman Timothy Hubbard, Councilwoman Catherine Kent, Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm, and Town Attorney Robert Kozakiewicz.

John Collins, deputy department manager of water resources at engineering firm H2M, was in attendance with Mark Conklin of Riverhead Water District.

“As this resolution states, we’re here to ask your approval to increase the expenditures for the ground storage tank at Plant 15 from $3.4 million to $4.3 million,” he said.

Collins recalled that the duo had stood in front of the board in March 2017 seeking approval on three projects for $5.5 million. He said that as of today the first two projects had been completed.

“Now that two are done and we’re in the process of the third we need the board’s permission to increase bonding by $75,000,” he said.

As Supervisor Jens-Smith closed the public hearing, she said, “I’ll leave this open for written comment until Friday, May 25.”

Also at the town board meeting, members considered permits, budget raises, and adopted resolutions relating to road resurfacing.

Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm delivered current financial reports including Tax Receiver total tax collection as of May 2 at $91,602,699.94; Tax Receiver total tax collection as of May 9 at

$96,030,445.80; Tax Receiver utility collection report for April at $283,044.93; and the Town Clerk April monthly report at $10,425.09.
“The 2017 annual financial report and justice court independent accountant’s report have also submitted,” Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm also noted that the board had a thank-you letter from a resident regarding snow removal last winter, seven letters in response to the Q&A hearing for Calverton Aviation and Technology, and three letters regarding issues to neighboring buildings from building construction on East Main Street in Riverhead.

Event applications for the board to consider included one from the Combined Veterans Committee for the annual Memorial Day Parade on May 28, and the Riverhead Community Awareness Program’s annual “Say No to Drugs” parade on June 1.

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