10/30/14 10:00am

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The Riverhead Town Board members seemed to like what they saw during a discussion at Thursday’s work session on  bringing  WaterFire to the Peconic River.  Lisa Lowenstein, an advisor to WaterFire creator Barnaby Evans, also said she was happy with the amount of enthusiasm for the project she has encountered from residents and town officials. The next steps will be to find funding for the project. The Town Board also gave an unofficial go-ahead to the new Winter Farmers’ Market proposed for the former McCabe’s/Dinosaur Museum building on East Main Street, which starts Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be held on Saturdays through May 16.

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10/29/14 3:44pm
WaterFire in Providence, R.I.. Credit: Oko Zoko

WaterFire in Providence, R.I.. Credit: Oko Zoko

Light up the Peconic!

A plan to bring “WaterFire” to downtown Riverhead could be in the works. WaterFire Riverhead, as it’s being billed, is a based on similar WaterFire displays around the world — the nearest being in Providence, R.I. — that feature bonfires on waterways while other artistic displays and performances take place around them. (more…)

10/29/14 10:00am
Credit: Patrick W. Moore

Credit: Patrick W. Moore

The owners of a Northville nursery who are seeking town permission to build solar panels on 10 acres at the rear of their Sound Avenue farm will first need to prove that no other use allowed under the property’s zoning will be profitable at the site.

Plant Connection, owned by Melissa Daniels and Anthony Caggiano, is seeking a “use variance” from the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals to allow them to incorporate a use not permitted by zoning.

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10/29/14 8:00am
(Credit: Tim Gannon)

The former Rolle Brothers Farm Equipment property in Riverhead. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A proposed 38,204-square-foot shopping center on the site of the former Rolle Brothers Farm Equipment property on Route 58 received re-approvals last week from the Zoning Board of Appeals for some variances it originally received two years ago.

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10/27/14 8:49pm
From left, Landmarks Preservation Commission member  Cliff Baldwin, Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and commission chair Richard Wines listen to speakers at Monday's commission meeting, where a proposal to make a six-mile stretch of Main Road a National Register Historic Place was withdrawn. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

From left, Landmarks Preservation Commission member Cliff Baldwin, Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and commission chair Richard Wines listen to speakers at Monday’s commission meeting, where a proposal to make a six-mile stretch of Main Road a National Register Historic Place was withdrawn. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

After hearing more comments both for and against a proposed National Register Historic District on Main Road stretching from Aquebogue to Laurel, Riverhead Town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reluctantly voted to withdraw its application for the district.

The withdrawal, made at the commission’s monthly meeting Monday, kills the proposal in both Riverhead and Southold towns.

But it didn’t come easily.

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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.


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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…)