For years, Southampton Town officials have been saying that the blighted hamlet of Riverside can never be properly developed without access to sewage treatment, due to its proximity to the Peconic River and the Pine Barrens.
On Tuesday, the Riverhead Town Board may have taken the first steps toward achieving that goal.
The Town Board voted to authorize a feasibility study map and plan for an extension of the Riverhead Sewer District into a small portion of Riverside, near the traffic circle, at the request of Southampton Town officials. The cost of the study, $35,000, will be paid entirely by Southampton Town.
The Riverhead Sewer District already serves the County Center, courts and jail in Riverside.
Southampton also plans to conduct a separate study in the future on a large sewage treatment plant in Riverside, officials said.
“It’s a very limited area around the circle that we’re looking to extend the sewer district into, just to jump-start development,” said Dave Wilcox, Southampton Town’s director of long-term planning, at a meeting with the Riverhead Business Improvement District last Wednesday.
To extend the sewer, Southampton will also pay to upgrade an aging pumping station in Riverhead Town, officials said, adding that this will benefit downtown Riverhead as well.