The first in a series of “stakeholders” meetings to find out the feasibility of building a sewer district in the Flanders-Riverside area will take place tonight at the David Crohan Community Center on Flanders Road in Flanders.
County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) and representatives of the county’s Department of Public Works have organized the meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m.
The idea of a creating a sewer district in the Flanders-Riverside area has long been suggested as a way of bringing additional commercial development there, which has traditionally seen little commercial development because of environmental constraints. The lack of a commercial tax base in the area has also been blamed by some for creating the area’s high school tax rates.
A sewer district would theoretically allow more commercial building because sewage would be collected in the district and treated, rather than filtered through individual septic tanks and cesspools that drain into the ground.
The county’s Health Department regulates sewage issues and is often reluctant to approve projects that might create a lot of sewage in this area because of its proximity to the Peconic River and the Pine Barrens.
“The two main things that determine the growth of the community are its zoning, which says what’s going to happen where and to what degree, and the county health department,” Mr. Scheiderman said during the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association meeting in September. “How much capacity for sewage can that property handle? And without sewage treatment, in this area, it’s very little.”
Of tonight’s meeting, Mr. Schneiderman said, “This is an initial meeting—not a public hearing and not a presentation of intermediate results—to inform, understand the key issues, get initial input and build the momentum for a successful study.”
While Schneiderman’s office said the public is welcomed to attend the meeting, representatives from various “stakeholder” groups, such as the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association; the Riverside Revitalization Community Corporation; and Southampton Town have all been invited.
The county’s Department of Public Works recently began a study, which could take more than a year to complete, to determine the feasibility of creating a sewer district for the Flanders-Riverside Corridor. And even if it recommends building a sewer district, it could take more than ten years to complete it, officials said. Some concerns already raised is that the cost of creating a new sewer district could be prohibitive, which officials said is one of the issues the study will tackle.
“The study will tell you the costs,” Mr. Schneiderman told FRNCA. “In some ways, it’s too early to tell if a sewer district is a good thing.”
Read the Dec. 8 Riverhead News-Review for coverage of the meeting.