10/24/14 3:00pm
Dieter Von Lehsten, the co-chair of Southampton Town's Sustainability Committee, at Riverhead Town Hall on Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Dieter Von Lehsten, the co-chair of Southampton Town’s Sustainability Committee, at Riverhead Town Hall on Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Town Board appears split on a plastic shopping bag ban in Riverhead Town — last pitched to the board in May of this year — which was discussed in town hall last Thursday, and could be subject to an inter-municipal agreement with other towns and villages in the area.

Dieter Von Lehsten, the co-chair of Southampton Town’s Sustainability Committee, spoke at the work session to try and convince Riverhead to ban single use plastic shopping bags, something Southampton Town is considering and Southampton Village and East Hampton Village have done.

In May, members of the East End Supervisor’s Association said that they were aiming to pass an East End-wide plastic bag ban by Earth Day of 2015. Mr. Von Lehsten has since been making the rounds to East End towns and villages, trying to convince them to enact the ban.


Get the news to come to you: like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy and Mr. Wooten said they both support the plastic bag ban, while Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said she wants to have a public hearing before deciding.

“Plastic bags are hurting our ecology,” Mr. Dunleavy said. “They don’t disintegrate.”

He said three large box stores in town — BJ’s Warehouse, Costco and Aldi — now ban plastic bags.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said that he’s already getting calls from the New York State Supermarket Retailers Association asking whether Riverhead plans to ban plastic shopping bags.

The supervisor believes there will be a lawsuit if the bag ban is enacted.

Mr. Von Lehsten said there has been no lawsuits filed against Southampton Village and East Hampton Village, which both adopted the ban in 2011.

“They don’t have the level of retailers that Riverhead does,” Mr. Walter said, alluding to the large national chain stores on Route 58. ”The lawsuit is going to happen.”

He suggested the five East End towns start a defense fund to pay the cost of any legal fees associated with a lawsuit challenging the plastic bags.

He feels the ban should be done on a county level, and not by individual towns.

“The single largest consumer item globally are single used plastic bags,” Mr. Von Lehsten said, quoting from various scientific studies. “We are using, by the lowest estimates, 500 billion to  one trillion bags annually.  That is a lot of plastic bags. And considering that these things never totally disintegrate, it is a gigantic environmental and health problem for us.”

He said the country goes through over 100 billion bags annually, and Southampton Town, uses 23 million bags annually.

“Only four to seven percent are recycled, and the rest goes into landfills or the ocean,” he said.

10/24/14 10:30am
East Street in Jamesport, a private road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

East Street in Jamesport, a private road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

The discussion over whether the Riverhead Town highway department should continue to plow private roads will open up beyond the Highway Superintendent and Town Board, heading to a public hearing in the near future.

The Town Board and Highway Superintendent George Woodson agreed at Thursday’s board work session to hold a public hearing on a plan that would allow the highway department to continue snow plowing and cold patching private roads on which the highway department has plowed and patched for at least the past 10 years. (more…)

10/23/14 10:00am

liveblog

The Riverhead Town Board is scheduled to continue its discussion on plowing snow on private roads, something the town has done for years even thought the state constitution says it should not.

The board also will discuss proposed regulations for flyboarding, after a proposed solution was tabled at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting so the board could discuss it further. Also, the plastic bag ban is up for discussion again.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. and News-Review reporter Tim Gannon will be live blogging it. Click below to follow or comment and see the full meeting agenda below that.

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 10-23-2104

October 23, 2014 – Agenda by Timesreview

Featured Story
10/23/14 8:00am
Waste water being aerated in one of the two 750,000-gallon treatment tanks at the Riverhead Sewer District plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Waste water being aerated in one of the two 750,000-gallon treatment tanks at the Riverhead Sewer District plant. (Credit: Paul Squire)

A $23.5 million upgrade to Riverhead’s sewer system — which was to have been completed last winter — could take at least two years longer than expected, and the town has applied for an extension of the project completion date from January 2014 to April 2016.

In the meantime, the town is seeking additional funds from the county to help pay for the cost of the upgrade. The town doesn’t have the money.  (more…)

Featured Story
10/22/14 8:00pm
A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

Four of the five Riverhead Town Board members have signed a letter asking the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and the state Office of Parks and Recreation to withdraw the town’s application for a proposed National Register Historic District along Main Road in Aquebogue, Jamesport and Laurel, according to Councilman George Gabrielsen.  (more…)

10/21/14 7:00pm

liveblog

Northville residents came out in force to oppose United Riverhead Terminal’s special permit application to convert two of its oil tanks on its Northville property to gasoline storage at a public hearing before the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday night. The board held the hearing open until Dec. 16 and promised to discuss the issue further at a work session.

(more…)

10/21/14 9:45am
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Fire district headquarters on Roanoke Avenue.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Fire district headquarters on Roanoke Avenue.

Local fire districts are all having public hearings on their proposed 2014 budgets tonight, and all proposed budgets come in under the state mandated two-percent tax levy increase.

Fire districts are the taxing entity that funds the local fire departments, which are mostly run by volunteers but receive taxes for things such as equipment, facilities and some paid employees.

Below is a breakdown of the budget proposals and public hearing times and locations.

• Riverhead

The proposed 2015 budget called for a $4.501 million tax levy, up 1.56 percent over the 2014 levy of $4.432 million. The proposed budget uses $250,000 in fund balance, $29,117 in payments in lieu of taxes and $106,883 in bond reduction reserve money to offset tax increases.

Tax rates, which are determined by the town, were not yet available. The district covers parts of three different towns, Riverhead, Southampton and Brookhaven.

The public hearing on the budget will take place at 7 p.m. at Riverhead fire headquarters on 540 Roanoke Avenue in Riverhead.

• Wading River

The proposed 2015 budget calls for $2.107 million in taxes, up 1.8 percent from the 2014 total of $2.07 million. Overall spending is proposed at $2.443 million,  up 5.5 percent over 2014, but the proposed budget uses $55,750 in estimated revenues and $80,000 in appropriated fund balance to reduce the amount to be paid in taxes. The tax levy is split between Brookhaven Town and Riverhead Town, with the portion in Brookhaven to go down from 2014, and the Riverhead portion, which is about 60 percent of the total, proposed to rise by 5.9 percent in Riverhead, according to district figures.

The fire district has no role in the apportionment of the tax levy between towns, according to Riverhead Town Assessor Laverne Tennenburg. That is done by the county and based on each town’s equalization rate, which is a state formula that attempts to determine at what percentage of market value  each town assesses property for taxing purposes. Riverhead’s equalization rate decreased this year, while Brookhaven’s stayed the same, meaning a greater portion of the taxes shifted to the Riverhead side, she said.

The public hearing is at 7 p.m. at the fire headquarters on 1503 North Country Road in Wading River.

• Jamesport

The proposed 2014 budget is $842,810, which is up by 1.5 percent from the 2013 budget of $830,318. Of that amount, $766,833 will be paid through taxes, which is a 1.56 percent increase.

The public hearing is at 7:30 p.m. at the firehouse on 25 Manor Lane in Jamesport.

• Flanders

The proposed 2015 budget calls for $691,500 in spending, up one percent, with estimated revenues of $130,000 bringing the amount to be raised from taxes down to $561,500, which is a 1.3 percent increase.

The hearing will be held at 7 p.m. in the firehouse on19 Firehouse Lane in Flanders.