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shopping center

Public hearing at Town Hall will be Farmingville Feb. 6 at 4 p.m.

Rendering of the shopping center. Image from Brookhaven Town

Setauket developer Parviz Farahzad applied to the Brookhaven Town Planning Board for site plan approval to construct a 24,873 square foot retail center, known as Stony Brook Square LLC. The proposed shopping center is located on Route 25A near the Stony Brook railroad station. The plan includes site improvements for parking, lighting, drainage and landscaping.

J. Timothy Shea Jr., a partner in the real estate group of Certilman, Balin, Adler & Hyman LLP, represented Farahzad and Stony Brook Square at a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Dec. 14. The developer requested front yard setback variances for three of the proposed buildings as well as an addition to an existing building, from the required 25 feet to 11.5 feet; and a height variance for one of the buildings, from a permitted 35-foot height to a 60-foot height. The extra height will be used to raise a clock tower in the middle building at the rear of the center.

“We thought it was a nice feature,” Shea said during the proceedings.

A list of 10 recommendations made by the 25A Corridor Citizens Advisory Committee were read into the hearing record.

Eight homeowners or residents spoke in the public comment portion of the hearing. They expressed concerns regarding traffic safety on the busy road, environmental issues and the viability of adding retail space when there are so many unoccupied stores in the area.

“My first concern is safety,” Professor Erez Zadok of Stony Brook said. “On this stretch of road … people drive fast; over the limit. It’s dark. Additional traffic will make things worse.” He spoke of environmental concerns as well and questioned the need for additional retail space. The nearby Three Village Shopping Plaza currently has four available spaces according to Kristen Moore, spokesperson for Brixmor Properties, and there are three vacant units just down the street.

Several people spoke out against the granting of a variance that would nearly double the permitted height of the proposed clock tower.

Michael Vaeth viewed the tower as a marketing ploy.

“Currently, especially in the winter months, I have a view of the university and the train station,” he said. “I’m objecting to the 60-foot height. That would be the tallest building in all of the Three Villages — including Ward Melville High School.”

Vaeth’s neighbor Maureen Bybee said she didn’t see the need for the clock tower.

“I want to express my objection and opposition to the clock tower. It doesn’t seem to add anything … and it certainly will have an effect on the neighbors,” she said.

David Pauldy also asked the board to reject the height variance for the tower.

“It would have an effect on the neighborhood behind it,” he said. “It would be extremely visible and it would change the character of the neighborhood.”

The zoning board is allowed 62 days to rule on the request for variances, which gives the board until Feb. 14 to make its decision whether or not to grant the variances.

A public hearing is scheduled Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. at Brookhaven Town Hall in the board meeting room for residents and business owners to continue to voice their opinions on this development.

A suspicious package left near a donation box in the Three Village Shopping Center causes an evacuation of nearby stores. Photo by Donna Newman

A package that was left near a donation box in East Setauket caused a stir last week.

Suffolk County police were called to the Three Village Shopping Center on Route 25A in Setauket at 7:50 a.m., July 21, to evaluate a suspicious package left outside a donation box in the parking lot, according to police.

Sgt. Walter Langden said the item found in the lot appeared to consist of a wooden clock with wires connected to what might have been sticks of dynamite. Langden said it looked real, and SCPD emergency services were called in to evaluate the device.

The sergeant reported that a passerby had seen it and went into Starbucks, where a 911 call was made. Starbucks was evacuated and yellow police tape was used to close off the entire parking area.

Police said they were working to identify the person who initiated the call.

Police cars and emergency vehicles converge at the Three Village Shopping Center. Photo by Donna Newman
Police cars and emergency vehicles converge at the Three Village Shopping Center. Photo by Donna Newman

Lt. Kevin Burke said the item looked like a legitimate threat. It was taken into an emergency services van, where police officer and bomb technician Toby Monaco X-rayed the device and determined it was not a hazard. Burke said it was most likely a decorative item discarded at the donation bin.

Multiple departments responded to the call, including the Setauket Fire Department.

“We were here for backup support for the police department,” assistant fire chief, Paul Rodier, said at the scene. “It was more precautionary, for safety.”

Larry Hall, a fire officer at the scene, reminded the public to remain vigilant.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to work,” Hall said. “The public are the eyes. [If you] see something, say something.”

Starbucks employees said company policy did not allow them to speak to a reporter. Next door, at Island Packaging and Shipping, owner Gigi Querido said when her employee arrived that morning, she asked police if it was OK to open the store.

She was told not to open until all was clear. When Querido arrived at 9:15 a.m., she said there was a significant police presence in the parking lot, including police cars and a bomb squad van. A Setauket Fire Department ambulance was also parked nearby.

On July 25 a police spokesperson said the investigation is continuing and asked for anyone with information to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477).