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Riverhead IDA member attends meeting after moving out of state

08/08/2018 6:00 AM |

Riverhead Industrial Development Agency member Larry Simms commuted to Monday’s IDA meeting — from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Simms recently sold his home in South Jamesport, where he was registered to vote in Riverhead Town, and moved to Pittsburgh, Pa. 

He has offered to remain on the IDA if desired, saying he owns 16 mostly undeveloped acres along the Peconic River on West Main Street.

But Richard Ehlers, the IDA’s attorney, said IDA members are required to live in Riverhead Town, not just own property there. 

Still, Mr. Simms showed up at Monday’s IDA meeting anyway and took a seat with the board. No one asked him to leave.

Mr. Ehlers said in an interview afterward that the IDA is not the entity that appointed Mr. Simms to his position and, thus, it would not be the IDA’s responsibility to ask him to leave. 

Members of the IDA are appointed by the Town Board. 

Mr. Simms declined to comment when asked how long he plans to stay on the IDA. 

Mr. Simms has been a critic of the IDA, which gives tax incentives as a means of encouraging businesses to come to Riverhead. As a private citizen, he frequently attended IDA meetings and often spoke out on applications or asked questions, as he did Monday. 

In February, Mr. Simms was appointed to the IDA by the Riverhead Town Board in a split 3-2 vote, which Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman Jim Wooten opposed and Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith and with Council members Catherine Kent and Tim Hubbard in support. 

The Town Board interviewed other candidates for the IDA and other town boards earlier this year, when it selected Mr. Simms.

There was no resolution on Tuesday’s Town Board meeting pertaining to an IDA vacancy. 

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Photo caption: Riverhead Industrial Development Agency member Larry Simms. (Tim Gannon photo) 

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