Placard-waving Wading River residents turned out in force at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting to again demand that the town declare a moratorium prohibiting the approval of new projects on Route 25A until after an ongoing study of the zoning in that corridor is complete.
“Approving projects before the study is compete defeats the entire purpose of the study,” said Dominique Mendez, president of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition. “If you don’t wait for the recommendations of the impending study and give yourselves time to revise zoning based on the recommendations, then this study will not be able to do the job we’re all paying for.”
The town agreed to pay up to $44,000 to have the corridor studied earlier this year. There are four commercial applications varying in size, currently proposed in the area.
But Supervisor Sean Walter said the situation isn’t that dire. He said one project, Joseph Vento’s proposed 42,000-square-foot commercial development on the south side of Route 25, between McDonald’s and the funeral home, was submitted but the applicant never paid the application fees.
Another, John Zoumas’ proposed 52,000-square-foot commercial project on Route 25A, east of the CVS pharmacy, is located in the Pine Barrens Commission’s jurisdiction and likely won’t ended up looking anything like what is proposed, Mr. Walter said. That land also is being considered for acquisition by the county for open space, he said.
That leaves Kenney Barra’s proposed 37,418 square foot project on the corner of Route 25A and Sound Avenue, and Great Rock’s proposed clubhouse expansion, Mr. Walter said. The Great Rock proposal also may not be permitted depending on what the town determines upon reviewing prior covenants on the land, he said.
“That’s a lot of ifs,” Ms. Mendez said.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER RESIGNS
Lou Coronesi, the controversial animal control officers that some residents have been calling on the town to fire, resigned this week. Councilman Jim Wooten said the town had a hearing scheduled for Oct. 2 to fire Mr. Coronesi, who Mr. Wooten said has not shown up for work “in nearly five months.”
Mr. Coronesi had been disliked by shelter volunteers and animal advocates for some time, but that came to a head in December when a dog named Bruno was euthanized based on a report that it had bitten a child. After the dog had been euthanized, it was discovered that it did not bite a child, but rather its 22-year-old owner who was trying to break up a fight between two dogs on his property, and that the bite wound was superficial.
Mr. Wooten said former animal control officer Sean McCabe is being proposed to take Mr. Coronesi’s position, but that must be approved by the Civil Service Employees Association, since Mr. McCabe is currently working in the sewer district. The town had two Animal Control Officers until this year, when one position was eliminated in the budget. Mr. McCabe was able to transfer to an unfilled position in the sewer district.
The shelter volunteers and animal advocates who had been critical of Mr. Coronesi had also urged the town to bring back Mr. McCabe.
The town currently has a part-time animal control officer working full-time, Mr. Wooten said.
The town approved a settlement of a lawsuit filed by Boom Development owner Ed Broidy, who sued after the town changed the zoning on his 15-acre lot on the northwest corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue in Riverhead.
Mr. Broidy had originally proposed a 22,000-square-foot shopping center on the site in 2003, but the town later changed the zoning to residential.
He later proposed to instead develop the land residentially.
The settlement calls for the lawsuit to be withdrawn and allows Mr. Broidy to build 16 residential lots, which is slightly more than the property’s zoning permits, according to Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz. It also requires at least 50 percent of a seven-acre farm parcel fronting Sound Avenue to remain agricultural, he said.
The settlement has no effect on whether Suffolk County purchases the site as a park. The county has initiated planning steps toward the acquisition and recently made an offer to Mr. Broidy, according to county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches).
REMEMBERING O’DELL EVANS
Supervisor Sean Walter called for a moment of silence at the start of Tuesday’s meeting in memory of O’Dell Evans, who died suddenly last week at the age of 70. Mr. Evans, who lived on Doctors Path, was a fixture at Town Board meetings for the past 10 years, and also attended almost every Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. He also was a member of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance corps for 32 years.