Romaine proposes purchase of controversial Sound Avenue parcel

09/10/2010 12:00 AM |

North Fork County Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) plans to announce Tuesday that he is submitting a bill calling for the county to begin taking planning steps towards the acquisition of the controversial 4.1-acre parcel at the corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue, on which a shopping center has been proposed.
“Other than agri-business, we should avoid additional commercial development on Sound Avenue,” Mr. Romaine said in an interview Friday.
He will make his announcement Tuesday at 2 p.m. on the Park Road/Sound Avenue site where the development is proposed.
EMB Enterprises, owned by Kenn Barra, is seeking to build a 28,000 square foot shopping center at that corner, and earlier this year, an appellate court ruling on a lawsuit brought by EMB against a town rezoning of the property stated that the application was approved, subject to an environmental review.
Residents of Reeves Park and other areas have opposed the development, with more than 1,000 signatures on a petition in opposition, and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter has suggested the land be acquired as a park, although he said the town alone doesn’t have enough money to do so.
Reeves Park resident Bob Kelly, whose brother Tom was a New York City firefighter killed in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, on Wednesday suggested the site be acquired as a 9/11 Memorial. The town renamed Park Road in honor of Tom Kelly several years ago, and a plaque and flag in his memorial was placed there as well.
A memorial service in memory of Tom Kelly and others killed in the terrorist attack is planned for Saturday at the Park Road/Sound Avenue corner.
Mr. Romaine said he is planning to suggest the county use quarter-percent sales tax money for the purchase, and that Riverhead Town contribute a portion of the price.
tgannon@timesreview.com