Featured Story
12/19/14 1:10pm
Sherry Patterson, president of the PBMC board of directors, speaks before the Planning Board Thursday

Sherry Patterson, president of the PBMC board of directors, speaks before the Planning Board Thursday at a hearing on a proposed hospital annex on Route 58

While no one questioned the need for Peconic Bay Medical Center’s proposed hospital annex in the parking lot of Bob’s Discount Furniture on Route 58, the location drew some concerns at a public hearing before the Riverhead Town Planning Board Thursday night.

The plans call for construction of a 3,500 square foot building in the southeast corner of the Gateway Plaza, which is the name of the shopping center with Walmart and Bob’s Discount Furniture. PBMC also indicated it plans a possible future expansion of nearly 2,000 square feet in the future.

The goal is to eventually have non-emergency patients come to this site, and not to the emergency room, as currently happens, officials said.

“I don’t think anyone would disagree that hospital emergency rooms are being used as walk-in clinics by people that don’t have insurance,” said Kimberly Judd, the attorney for PBMC. The proposed annex would free up the emergency room for emergencies, she said.

“Our emergency room is at capacity and if you go there, particularly on the weekends, or in the evenings when any of the typical urgent care centers are closed, you can’t get in,” said PBMC board president Sherry Patterson.

“The beds are in the halls, parking is at a maximum; there’s just nowhere else to go. If you want your community hospital to continue to serve you the best way they can, this is something that we really truly need. It’s something the community really truly needs.”

Ron McManus, PBMC’s senior vice president, said the ER wait time can run as long as 6 to 9 hours because of the large volume of visitors — about 38,000 visits per year.

He said about 38 percent of the patients who go to emergency department can be seen at a lower level of care, which is what is being proposed by the annex.

Planning Board member Stan Carey said no one doubts the need for the facility, but he questioned the location.

“On my way here today at about 2 p.m., it took about 17 minutes to get past that location,” Mr. Carey said. “Traffic was backed up without an emergency facility there.”

If an ambulance were trying to take an emergency patient to the hospital’s main campus, he asked, “how would they get out of there?  The cars were blocked up in the intersection. You couldn’t move. They were actually blocking the green light.”

Mr. McManus said that while there will be an ambulance on site at the annex, the frequency of times when an ambulance will need to transport a patient from the annex to the main campus is expected to be rare.

Patients who go to the emergency room with non-emergency situations will be seen there, but PBMC expects that eventually, people will learn to go to the annex with non-emergency cases.

Planning Board member Lyle Wells and resident Richard Luzzi also questioned the location.

“We have Kroemer Avenue that’s starting to grow and yet we have a dysfunctional light system,” Mr. Wells said.

“I don’t think that spot can support another building,” Mr. Luzzi said, adding that the number of cars going to that shopping center has been increasing.

“The design of that whole shopping center needs a lot of work,” he said.

Residents Ken LeBohner and Howard Young both voiced support for PBMC.

“It’s a wonderful care facility and I would trust them with my life, and have,” Mr. Young said.

As for the location, Ms. Patterson said hospital officials looked at every vacant building and property in town and chose this one because of its location near the Long Island Expressway.

“One of the things we didn’t want to do is locate it deep into the heart of Route 58, where it would be drawing traffic from the LIE into town,” she said.

In addition, anything east of Northville Turnpike can’t be considered because it would not be within the town sewer district, and hospital buildings, by law, are required to have separate heating, ventilation and air condition systems from other buildings, she said.

The hospital’s service area is about 400 square miles and ranges from east of the William Floyd Parkway, the entire North Fork, and the South Fork from Hampton Bays west, Mr. McManus said.

Ms. Judd said that if another retail store were proposed in this location, the traffic generation would be greater. Traffic counts show that the peak hours for retail is in the late afternoon and at night, whereas the peak for PBMC’s new Manorville campus — similar to what is proposed on Route 58 — is in the morning, she said.

The Planning Board closed the public hearing but did not rule on the application.

Featured Story
12/18/14 10:00am

 

liveblogThe Riverhead Town Board on Thursday backed off its original plan to identify which private roads it would continue to plow snow on by the end of the year.

The board will now push the decision off until some time in 2015 after it investigates the issue further. The Town Board had held a public hearing on Dec. 2 to allow about 41 private roads that have been plowed by the town in the past and used by the public for at least 10 years to continue to be plowed. Some residents supported the idea, some opposed it and some were unsure.

At Thursday’s work session, the board was looking to finalize a list of which roads to continue plowing under a state provision called “highways by use,” in which the town would only provide snow plowing and cold patch services, and the roads would not be brought up to town highway standards for width, thickness and drainage.

However, Supervisor Sean Walter recommended the town also take some of the streets in as regular highways, and the town highway department bring them up to standards, rather than the residents of those streets, as is normally done, according to highway superintendent George Woodson, who opposed that idea.

To find out what else was discussed at Thursday’s work session, click below to read News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting and scroll down for  the full meeting agenda.

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 12-18-2014

 

December 18, 2014 – Agenda by Timesreview

12/17/14 3:30pm

EPCAL_signAfter balancing its budget with $750,000 in projected revenues next year from either selling off of leasing land at the town-owned Enterprise Park at Calverton — namely to companies aiming to sell energy to the Long Island Power Authority — Riverhead Town had one project given a green light by LIPA on Wednesday that may end up covering the gap.

On Wednesday, LIPA’s Board of Trustees selected four solar projects from Calverton with which to start negotiating power purchase agreements. While three are with firms planning to lease private lands, one of them was at EPCAL with Hecate Energy, LLC. (more…)

12/17/14 9:30am
Planning director Rick Hanley looking over Lowes' site plan for the former Suffolk Life building on Route 58 in 2009. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Planning director Rick Hanley looking over Lowes’ site plan for the former Suffolk Life building on Route 58 in 2009. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Riverhead Town Board abolished the planning director position on Tuesday night, which was held by Rick Hanley for more than 25 years.

The Town Board voted 3-2 to eliminate the position at the end of the year, with Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman John Dunleavy voting in opposition of the measure. (more…)

12/17/14 8:00am
R102711_Bayview_BE_C.jpg

The owner of the Bayview Inn & Restaurant is proposing splitting the property, which also holds a two-unit home, into two separate parcels. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A proposal to convert the former Bayview Inn and Restaurant in South Jamesport into five apartment units was met with opposition from nearby residents at a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing last Thursday.

The 19,985-square-foot property’s zoning calls for two-acre residential lots, even though it, and most of the properties in that neighborhood, are well under one acre. (more…)

12/16/14 7:03pm

The Riverhead Town Board Tuesday voted to abolish the town planning director position in a 3-2 vote, with Council members John Dunleavy and Jodi Giglio opposed. The position is not funded in the 2015 budget, as officials are seeking to cut spending.

The position has been held for many years by Rick Hanley, who hasn’t indicated a desire to retire. Ms. Giglio said she wants to keep Mr. Hanley and eliminate another planning position, while Mr. Dunleavy said the move would leave the town with only one planner.

The board also tabled a resolution to set a Jan. 6 public hearing on new regulations for “flyboarding” and other “JetPack” vessels in town waters, and swore in six new police recruits, according to the meeting agenda.

The Town Board also voted to reschedule to March 18 a public hearing on United Riverhead Terminal’s plans to build two new tanks in Northville after URT requested the adjournment.

To read what else happened at Tuesday’s board meeting, click below to read News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting  and scroll down for the full meeting agenda and resolution packet.

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board 12-16-2014

 

December 16, 2014 – Agenda by Timesreview

 

 

December 16, 2014 – Packet by Timesreview

12/16/14 12:00pm
The unfinished bike path at EPCAL. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

The unfinished bike path at EPCAL. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

After town board members appeared to oppose completing a bike and recreational path at the Enterprise Park at Calverton over the summer, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved allocating $200,000 to complete the path on Monday.

Riverhead Town and New York State have already contributed $100,000 each toward the path, though three miles of the 8.9-mile path remain unpaved.

The bike path will get walkers and bikers off the dangerous public road, as it is located inside the fence around EPCAL, officials say.

Initially, it appeared part of the southern portion of the trail would be on the public street on River Road, but that will now be inside the fence as well, according to North Fork county legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue), who sponsored the funding bill.

“It will be an off-road, non-motorized trail of over eight miles long for use by all county residents,” Mr. Krupski told legislators Tuesday, adding that the county won’t have to pay anything else, since the maintenance will be handled by Riverhead Town.

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who spoke before the legislature Monday, said the town is planning on holding events on the trail, such as fundraisers for the Wounded Warriors, and a Halloween Walk.

“We just think it’s a great project,” she told legislators.

Ms. Giglio was peppered with a slew of questions from western Suffolk legislators, who asked about things like whether the trail would impede economic development at EPCAL or use of the runway there.

She said the trail is not on part of the property where the town plans to see land for economic development.

“I’m comfortable with it,” said Legislator Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue). “I think bike paths are important.”

“I think it’s a reasonable investment,” said Legislator Tom Barraga (R-West Islip), who said it cost $1.7 million for a pedestrian-friendly trail in his district that only covered 8/10ths of a mile.

Riverhead Town’s alternative transportation advisory committee, to which Ms. Giglio is the liaison, has been championing the bike for the several years.

Supervisor Sean Walter said work on the extension of the bike path can’t commence until the environmental studies of the EPCAL site are completed and the town Planning Board approves the EPCAL subdivision which will show exactly where the bike path will go.

“We’re in the end stages of the study at this point,” Mr. Walter said. He thinks the subdivision could be approved some time in early 2015.

He added that he’s not sure if the $200,000 will be enough to complete the bike path.