To the editor:
When the Town of Riverhead endorsed its master plan, it noted that Sound Avenue should remain a country lane with an agricultural focus. Over the past few decades that designation has been maintained and enhanced, despite numerous changes that have taken place along that northern corridor. Many wineries have opened and several farms now cater to the growing agri-tourism business, but that all is about to change if the town decides to approve an application submitted by United Riverhead Terminal, Inc., the large oil tank farm located on Sound Shore Road in Riverhead, allowing the company to construct two additional tanks for the storage of ethanol.
If this modification of URT’s current operation is permitted, URT then plans to store 4.8 million gallons of gasoline in 2 existing tanks on its property. The gasoline and ethanol would then be mixed at their facility and transported from their tank farm by large 18-wheel tractor trailer trucks along narrow Sound Avenue. At that point we can say “goodbye” to Sound Avenue as a country lane as the master plan envisioned.
Currently, URT only stores home heating oil and diesel fuel on its property. There is no gasoline stored at URT’s facility and our town leaders can easily reject URT’s application. Large tractor trailers hauling gasoline along Sound Avenue is a tragic accident waiting to happen, whether it’s a catastrophic collision between an automobile and an 18-wheeler or a devastating environmental incident caused by a gasoline spill.
The town needs to say “no” now to the introduction of this highly volatile fuel before a tragedy occurs. Sound Avenue and its agricultural character have up till now been preserved, despite becoming a tourist and wine lovers thoroughfare. Let’s keep it that way, because wine and gas don’t mix!
Vincent Lyons, Riverhead