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09/10/15 9:00am
09/10/2015 9:00 AM

Two Jamesport properties comprising 43 acres that had been the focus of two controversial development proposals — both of which eventually fell by the wayside — were recently sold to a Huntington-based commercial real estate investment company.


03/22/13 12:00pm
03/22/2013 12:00 PM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The 'Village' is proposed for this land land on Main Road.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The ‘Village’ is proposed for this land land on Main Road.

The Save Main Road advocacy group has refiled its lawsuit seeking to overturn special permits the Riverhead Town Board granted for the Village at Jamesport commercial project in April 2012.

Group representatives say they have corrected the technical flaws that got the lawsuit dismissed earlier this year.

Save Main Road is an unincorporated Jamesport civic group that says it has 250 members. However, the original lawsuit, filed in August 2012, only mentioned one of them by name, that being Larry Simms, who lives in Manhattan and has a home in South Jamesport.

Mr. Simms was described as the legal liaison for the group.

Because of this, state Supreme Court Justice Hector LaSalle dismissed the case in January on the grounds that Save Main Road lacked legal “standing” to bring the case, and had failed to show how the special permits allowing Village at Jamesport to have two bistros and two professional offices would specifically harm any of its members.

Mr. Simms said Save Main Road decided to refile the lawsuit, rather than appeal the January dismissal.

“Instead of proceeding down the long and costly road of proving the lower court wrong, we simply fixed the perceived problem,” he said in a press release. “Our papers filed this week include affidavits from a homeowner and from a business owner, both in the immediate project vicinity, and both Save Main Road members.”

The affidavits “explain the unique ways in which [the homeowner and business owner] will be harmed by the issuance of the special use permits,” he said.

Village of Jamesport is a 42,000-square-foot shopping center proposed for 10 acres on the north side of Main Road in Jamesport, across from the Elbow Room restaurant. The applicant, Jul-Bet Enterprises, is headed by Julius Klein, who also owns Dollar Storage in Calverton.

The property owner, Jamesport Development LLC, of which Jul-Bet Enterprises is 50 percent owner, also owns the adjacent 40 acres north of the 10 acres slated for development, and has proposed a housing development there in the past.

The affidavits filed with the new lawsuit came from both Tom and Anne Kowalsik, who live next to the proposed development on Main Road, and Cliff Saunders III, whose family owns Cliff’s Elbow Room restaurant, which is right across the street from the development site.

“Due to the proximity of my home to the proposed project I will be impacted by the sounds, smells and other impacts associated with the construction and operation of the proposed project to a greater degree than the general public,” Mr. Kowalsik’s affidavit states.

His home would border the east and north by the project.

Mr. Saunders’ affidavit states the proposed development would increase traffic, noise, congestion and emissions and doesn’t have enough parking, which would lead to customers taking parking spaces that his customers would otherwise use.

“The environmentally intensive land uses permitted under the unlawful Special Use Permits pose an immediate threat both to the operation of my restaurant and the character of the area,” Mr. Saunders wrote.

Town Board members have argued that had the special permits allowing two bistros and two professional offices not been granted, the applicant was still permitted to build additional retail in their stead, and the project would have had the same square footage.

The rest of the project calls for retail uses.

Opponents of the plan say that allowing bistros would increase traffic, sewage, noise, and odors. The property’s “rural corridor” zoning, which allows bistros and professional offices only as special permit uses, otherwise allows retail stores fronting Main Road, antique stores and craft shops, museums, libraries and schools, places of worships, agriculture, parks and playgrounds and single family or two-family houses.

“The intent of the Rural Corridor (RLC) Zoning Use District is to allow a very limited range of roadside shops and services that are compatible with the agricultural and rural setting along major arterial roads,” the town code states.

Mr. Simms said the original lawsuit did explain that members of Save Main Road who own nearby homes or businesses would be directly and negatively impacted by the decision in affidavits filed with the case, although it did not identify them by name.

“We believe strongly that the court erred, missing the whole point of an action-oriented advocacy group like ours,” he said. “Requiring that individuals be identified would defeat a key purpose of forming such a group.”

Village at Jamesport is currently before the town Planning Board seeking site plan approval.

[email protected]

Read more in the March 28 News-Review.

01/20/13 5:00pm
01/20/2013 5:00 PM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The 'Village' is proposed for this land land on Main Road.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | The ‘Village’ is proposed for this land land on Main Road.

The Riverhead Town Planning Board decided to hold off on scheduling a public hearing on the controversial Village at Jamesport development after a local civic leader pointed out a number of inconsistencies in the plans being presented to the public, including confusion over which plan is actually being presented.

Larry Simms of the Save Main Road civic group said there are at least four different versions of the site plan for the project floating around, and that it’s impossible for the public, and possibly the town, to know which is the right one.

The Planning Board’s agenda for Thursday’s meeting called for a vote to schedule a Feb. 7 public hearing on the site plan application for Village at Jamesport — a 42,000 square foot commercial development on 9.7 acres on the north side of Main Road in Jamesport, just north of the Elbow Room.

Mr. Simms said that in November, Charles Cuddy, the attorney for the applicant, said he had submitted an alternate site plan on Oct. 9, which was on the agenda for discussion at the Nov. 15 Planning Board meeting. Mr. Simms said residents who have been following the case knew nothing of the Oct. 9 plan. He said that on Jan. 4, he called the planning department to find out if a new plan had been submitted because he heard it was going before the architectural review board. But the plan they were told was going before the ARB was dated Oct. 27, 2010.

Then on Wednesday, a day before the Planning Board meeting, “we came into the planning department to make sure we we were not missing anything, and we were shown a new plan, which was dated June 19, 2012,” Mr. Simms said.

And on Thursday, he said, there was another plan, dated April 2011, on display at the Planning Board meeting.

“I’ve been looking at commercial construction plans for more than 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mr. Simms told the Planning Board. “It looks like a shell game. You have to guess which is the real plan. It’s not possible for us, and probably not for you, to track what’s going on here.”

Mr. Simms said one plan shows 247 parking spaces and another shows 226 parking spaces. He said that when the Town Board granted two special permits for Village at Jamesport to allow two bistros and two professional office buildings instead of the permitted retail uses, it failed to recalculate the parking.

The Town Board, by a resolution agreed to by the applicant, limited the two bistros to a total of 4,000 square feet, instead of 8,000 square feet, which would normally have been permitted.

But Mr. Simms said “you’re still going to have 4,000 square feet of something else.” He maintains that the application falls short of the required number of parking spaces by about 27 because of the bistros approvals, since the bistro parking is based on number of seats, not square footage. The applicant proposes two 50-seat bistros.

The Nov. 15 plan also shows the entrance road to the development moved farther west and closer to the home of Tom and Anne Kowalsick. Robert Stromski, a consultant for the applicant, said the state Department of Transportation wanted the entrance moved farther west.

But the map Mr. Simms was given on Jan. 16 shows that entrance road back where it was in earlier plans.

Town planning director Rick Hanley said he had not seen the Jan. 16 plan.

“I can’t deal with unsolicited plans dropped off a day before a discussion is planned,” he said.

“I make a motion to table the resolution on the public hearing notice until we have the correct maps,” Planning Board member Lyle Wells said. “We want to make sure everybody is looking at the same map.”

The board agreed, 4-0, with board member Joe Baier absent, to put off the vote to schedule a public hearing.

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08/09/12 5:40pm
08/09/2012 5:40 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Save Main Road hopes to overturn the special permit issues by the Riverhead Town Board that would allow Jul-Bet Enterprises to build in Jamesport.

A Jamesport civic organization has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Riverhead Town Board’s April 3 special permit to allow Jul-Bet Enterprises to have two bistros and two professional offices in the proposed Village at Jamesport development.

Save Main Road — an unincorparated association consisting of more than 250 nearby residents and business owners, according to court documents — seeks to overturn the special permit approval on the grounds that the applicant, Jul-Bet Enterprises, doesn’t represent the property’s owners. The association also argues the review of the application is “segmented,” in violation of state law, and doesn’t take into account plans for the entire site.

In addition, the lawsuit says the environmental impact study for the project doesn’t take the required “hard look” at the impacts of increasing the number of bistros allowed.

The lawsuit was no surprise.

Larry Simms, the legal liaison for the group and South Jamesport homeowner, announced the potential lawsuit at a July 5 Planning Board hearing.

“Jul-Bet Enterprises LLC is not entitled to a special use permit because it is not the owner of the property,” the lawsuit says. “It has provided no evidence of authorization from the owner of the property and substantial evidence suggests that Jul-Bet lacks the authority to pursue development of the property.”

While the property owner was listed as Jul-Bet Enterprises when the application was first filed about eight years ago, in 2007 ownership transferred to Jamesport Development LLC, who’s ownership is comprised 50 percent of Jul-Bet Enterprises and 25 percent each of RBR Equities and SW Consulting.

The latter two companies are currently in court suing to have Jamesport Development dissolved on the grounds that it failed to live up to the financial arrangements it was formed to pursue through development of the Jamesport land.

Jamesport Development also is currently facing foreclosure proceedings on the property. And the 40 acres to the north of the site, which is owned by Jamesport Development, has been seized by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s department on behalf of creditors and is scheduled to be auctioned off on Sept. 11.

Jul-Bet Enterprises is owned by Julius Klein, according to court papers. Mr. Klein owns Dollar Storage in Calverton, which also has been seized by the Sheriffs and is being put up for auction.

Save Main Road says in its lawsuit that Town Board members were unaware of the change in ownership until after their vote on the special permit.

“Not only does this demonstrate the failure of Jul-Bet to disclose pertinent facts, it also indicates a clear error of the law on the part of the Town Board,” the lawsuit says. “Ownership of the parcel, or the owners’s authorization and consent is a prerequisite under the Riverhead Town Code. In addition, New York case law clearly indicates that a special use permit may not be issued to an applicant that lacks legal authority to develop the property and that permits issued to such applicants will be overturned.”

Charles Cuddy, the attorney on the Village at Jamesport application, addressed this issue at the July 19 Planning Board meeting.

“I think there’s a lot of things that have been said that are just factually untrue,” he said. “One of the things that’s often been said is that Jul-Bet Enterprises, which is Mr. Klein’s firm, does not own the site. He does own the site. He’s a 50 percent owner and he’s an applicant and he’s certainly entitled to make that application. The application was made with the consent of his other partners. There should be no question that he is an owner, is going to be an owner, and is going to get this project finished.”

The lawsuit also states that the town illegally segmented the review of the project when it said in its findings statement for the special permit that its environmental impact review was “limited to the environmental impact of the specially permitted uses,” and that “review of the environmental impact of the entire proposed action known as ‘Village at Jamesport’ will be addressed by the Town of Riverhead Board which has jurisdiction over site plan applications.”

A findings statement indicates the environmental review of a project is complete and it can suggest measures that must be taken to address certain impacts. The Town Board adopted a separate findings statement for the special permit application, and then the Planning Board adopted a different one for the site plan application several weeks later. Both were based on the same study.

The lawsuit also claims that the environmental study of the project didn’t examine the impact of the bistros properly. The study examined two 4,000 square foot bistros, which is defined as an “eating establishment of 50 seats or less.” However, when the applicant and the Town Board agreed to shrink the size of each proposed bistro to 2,000 square feet, the overall total of 8,000 square feet of bistros remained unchanged in those town resolutions, the lawsuit states, saying that the environmental study didn’t examine this change, which would permit eight 2,000 square foot bistros, as written.

Mr. Cuddy has said the applicant only plans two 2,000 square foot bistros.

The studies also failed to examine the impact of the parking spaces the applicant has said he would build to serve the existing businesses along Main Street in Jamesport, the lawsuit states.

Village at Jamesport plans to submit a revised site plan application for the 10-acre site soon, according to Mr. Cuddy.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said via text message that he could not comment on pending legislation. Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Town Board said it planned to discuss litigation on Village at Jamesport at an executive session after the board work session Thursday morning. Executive sessions are not open to the public.

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