03/19/15 11:13am
03/19/2015 11:13 AM
The state police barracks in Riverside used to be located east on Route 24, in the Red Creek area away from the hamlet center. (Credit: News-Review)

The state police barracks in Riverside used to be located east on Route 24, in the Red Creek area away from the hamlet center. (Credit: News-Review)

In response to outcry from town leaders in Southampton and Riverhead that the front lobby of the state police barracks in Riverside might go unmanned, state Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele are saying the issue has do with trouble hiring a dispatcher.

A dispatcher would typically man the front desk, the representatives say.

In the meantime, an officer has been filling in. (more…)

03/18/15 7:00pm
03/18/2015 7:00 PM
The Riverhead Town Board held a hearing Wednesday to discuss a Northville gas terminal proposal. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The crowd at Wednesday’s hearing for the proposed gas terminal in Northville. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Town Board appears poised to reject United Riverhead Terminals’ proposed expansion at its Sound Shore Road fuel tank farm following a nearly four-hour public hearing in which every speaker other than the applicant was opposed to the plan.

“You guys and girls changed my vote and I’m going to vote to deny this permit,” Councilman John Dunleavy told the standing-room only audience following the hearing, a move that got him around of applause.

“Three cheers for John. Hip hip hooray!” someone yelled from the audience.

“I think there is a consensus building on this board that is aligned with Councilman Dunleavy,” Supervisor Sean Walter told URT spokesman Vic Prusinowski. “You guys have a pretty uphill battle.”

“It comes down to who I represent,” Councilman Jim Wooten said after the meeting. “I think the public has been pretty clear. They made a very good argument.”

“After a presentation like that, I don’t know how anyone can support it,” Councilman George Gabrielsen said.

“I want to get all the answers first before I make a decision,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said, although she appeared to agree with Mr. Gabrielsen’s comments.

The Town Board is holding the hearing open for written comments until April 30 to allow URT to answer questions and comments made at the hearing.

URT is proposing to change two of the 20 oil storage tanks on the 286-acre Sound Shore Road property from fuel oil storage to gasoline storage, and to build two new 19,000 gallon tanks to store ethanol, which is blended with the gasoline. The two tanks proposed for gasoline storage are 2.8 million and 3.6 million gallons.

Mr. Walter said URT already has state approval to store gasoline and ethanol, but requires the special permit from the town to build the two new tanks.

Asked after the meeting what URT would do if the application is rejected, Mr. Prusinowski said that hasn’t really been discussed. He said they may be able to use an existing tank to store ethanol, or they may have the ethanol blended with the gasoline at another site.

Neighbors who spoke against the plan said the gasoline storage use constitutes a new use and since the property is zoned for residential uses, and the tank farm is allowed to stay because it pre-dates town zoning, the new use should not be allowed.

Chris Kent, an attorney representing the Northville Beach Civic Association, said the application should not be before the Town Board, but rather, should be before the zoning board of appeals since it seeks to allow a use not permitted by zoning.

Other speakers said the change to gasoline storage would result in an increase in large oil tanker trucks coming to and from the faciilty, and that the gasoline is far more flammable than fuel oil.

Scott Kamm, URT’s general manager, said the proposal would only result in an increase of 12 trucks per day. He said the number of trucks coming from the facility has dropped nearly 50 percent since 2009, although it increased from 2013 to 2014. He said the demand for fuel oil has been declining in recent years.

Angela DeVito, the president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association, said that the decrease in demand for fuel oil will likely lead URT to convert other tanks to gasoline storage in the future.

Other speakers said the applicants should be required to do an environmental impact study on the proposal.

Mr. Walter said the town may require a limited environment study, and it may also seek to put weight limits on town roads like Twomey Avenue in Calverton, where large oil tankers have been using to get to and from URT.

(more…)

03/18/15 2:00pm
After several attacks in the downtown Riverhead area this year — most of which have targeted Hispanic males — the town will revive its dormant Anti-Bias Task Force, a group 'meant to be a proactive agency in promoting tolerance and understanding.' (Credit: Carrie Miller)

After several attacks in the downtown Riverhead area last year — most of which have targeted Hispanic males — the town will revive its dormant Anti-Bias Task Force. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to officially restore Riverhead’s anti-bias task force at tonight’s meeting.

The task force was created in 1998, but had become dormant in recent years. Officials sought to re-establish it last year in the wake of a series of violent attacks on Hispanics in Riverhead.  (more…)

03/18/15 12:05pm
Opponents of the Riverhead Terminal expansion on Sound Shore Road Monday afternoon (from left): Northville Beach Civic Association president Neil Krupnick, Ann Weiser, Greg Genovese of the Highlands Club community, John Cullen and Dave Gruner. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Opponents of the Riverhead Terminal expansion on Sound Shore Road Monday afternoon (from left): Northville Beach Civic Association president Neil Krupnick, Ann Weiser, Greg Genovese of the Highlands Club community, John Cullen and Dave Gruner. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Safety. Traffic. The environment.

Residents of the Northville area of Riverhead and beyond have been concerned about all three ever since United Riverhead Terminal Inc. first appeared before the Riverhead Town Board in September with plans to expand its sprawling petroleum storage facility alongside Long Island Sound.

Over the last few months, some have harkened back more than 50 years, to the time when people then living in neighboring Northville Beach fought but failed to stop construction of the massive string of tanks that punctuates the otherwise wooded and rural landscape.  (more…)

03/15/15 10:00am
03/15/2015 10:00 AM
The East Lawn building on  East Main Street. (file photo)

The East Lawn building on East Main Street pictured in 2013. (file photo)

Although he wasn’t the highest bidder, Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi appears to be the Riverhead Town Board’s choice to purchase and restore the dilapidated East Lawn building on East Main Street.

The Town Board is planning to authorize a contract with Mr. Castaldi at its 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

(more…)

03/15/15 8:00am
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, center, Legislator Jay Schneiderman. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, center, Legislator Jay Schneiderman. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

Would constructing a large-scale convention center capable of hosting boat shows, concerts and auto shows be a viable means of bolstering the Suffolk County’s economy?

That is the question being posed by county lawmakers who passed a resolution seeking consultants willing to conduct a feasibility study on such a project. (more…)

03/14/15 8:00am
03/14/2015 8:00 AM
The state police barracks in Riverside. (Credit: News-Review)

The state police barracks in Riverside. (Credit: News-Review)

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter is hoping to stave off what he says are impending plans by the state police to pull a desk officer from its Riverside barracks.

Mr. Walter sent a letter to Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) dated March 4 asking for the senator’s help to keep the barracks at 234 Riverleigh Avenue, near the Route 25 traffic circle, open to walk-in complaints and people who need assistance. (more…)

03/13/15 2:00pm
03/13/2015 2:00 PM
Sean McLean and Siris Barrios of Renaissance Downtowns discuss plans for revitalizing Riverside at Monday's Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association meeting. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Sean McLean and Siris Barrios of Renaissance Downtowns discuss plans for revitalizing Riverside at Monday’s Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association meeting. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A private developer hired more than a year ago to help revitalize a section of Riverside has roughly a month left to deliver a final “action plan” to Southampton Town.

And while many of that plan’s details remain to be seen, the company announced Monday that it hopes help to spur development on many of the area’s blighted parcels through a simple exchange: more uses will be allowed on-site in exchange for more jobs for locals.  (more…)