08/15/14 10:00am
08/15/2014 10:00 AM
Riverhead Town Board members at an April meeting. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead Town Board members at an April meeting. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Facing a $4 million deficit in next year’s budget, the Town Board will consider on Tuesday a pair of bills to keep its options open: whether or not to authorize a $6 million bridge loan to help plug the hole, and whether or not to pierce New York State’s 2 percent tax cap next year.

Those were two options out of three presented by Supervisor Sean Walter recently as solutions to close next year’s deficit.

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08/15/14 6:00am
John Mangieri (Credit: Rachel Young)

Gian Mangieri, owner of Laurel Creek Landscape Nursery in Laurel, expressing his concerns about a historic designation along Main Road. (Credit: Rachel Young)

The mood was pleasant when a meeting commenced Thursday evening at Jamesport Meeting House to discuss a proposal to create a National Register Historic District on six miles of Main Road stretching from Aquebogue to Laurel.

Residents at the meeting, which included several Riverhead and Southold Town politicians, listened from the building’s historic pews as Richard Wines, chair of Riverhead’s landmarks preservation committee, presented a short slideshow featuring photos of well-known historic properties, like Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue. He explained that being listed with the National Register provides certain economic incentives, namely a 20 percent tax credit to homeowners doing restoration work on their properties.

Kathleen LaFrank and Jennifer Betsworth of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation gave an overview of the Register, which was founded in 1966 and is the official list of historic properties that have been recognized as significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.

After the presentations were given, the floor was opened for questions.

And that’s when Gian Mangieri of Laurel stood up.

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08/14/14 1:00pm
More than 200 North Fork residents upset by helicopter noise over their homes turned out Monday night for a forum in Southold. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

More than 200 North Fork residents upset by helicopter noise over their homes turned out Monday night for a forum in Southold. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Residents from three East End communities voted with their feet Monday and Tuesday, when more than 500 people attended three public meetings to stop low-flying aircraft from buzzing over their homes.

In Southold Monday night, 200 people chastised Federal Aviation Administration officials about the barrage of noise this summer — up more than 40 percent over last year, according to several reports. On Tuesday afternoon, the Shelter Island Town Board held a standing-room-only work session to hear audience members complain bitterly about the racket they’ve been forced to endure.  (more…)

08/14/14 10:00am

The Riverhead Town Board will discuss a proposal to create a separate line on the tax bill for landfill debt at its work session Thursday. The town pays about $4 million in landfill debt per year, and that’s also the amount the town would have to cut to avoid a tax increase next year, officials say.  (more…)

08/13/14 12:00pm
08/13/2014 12:00 PM
A proposed plan at Enterprise Park at Calverton calls for mixed use to house employees servicing other industries, eventually holding 300 residential units on site.

A proposed plan at Enterprise Park at Calverton calls for mixed use to house employees servicing other industries, eventually holding 300 residential units on site. (Click to enlarge)

A $600,000 study of the 2,300-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton was delivered to Town Hall last week, calling for the municipally owned land — gifted to the town for economic development in the late 1990s and largely untapped since — to be split into 50 lots for open space, as well as residential, retail, industrial and business uses.  (more…)

08/12/14 6:17pm
08/12/2014 6:17 PM
The Riverhead Train Station will be leased out to Islandwide Transportation starting next month. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Riverhead Train Station will be leased out to Islandwide Transportation starting next month. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The Long Island Rail Road’s long vacant, 104-year-old Riverhead train station finally has a tenant.

Beginning next month, Islandwide Transportation, a taxi company based in Mastic, will begin operating out of the station as part of a 10-year lease with the Long Island Rail Road.

The move comes as Riverhead Town officials had complained about the lack of maintenance at the station and surrounding grounds.

Supervisor Sean Walter had suggested the town order the LIRR to clean up the station, or else the town would do so with the cost being assessed to the LIRR, as is often done with privately-owned properties that need cleanup.

However, as the Town Board was discussing this at last Thursday’s work session, a group of inmates from the Suffolk County jail’s Labor Assistance Program were cleaning it, according to Kristin MacKay, a spokesperson  for Sheriff Vincent DeMarco.

LIRR spokesman Sal Arena said their own crews also cleaned up the station grounds last Thursday and Friday. He said they were not aware of the Sheriff’s cleanup of the site.

As for Islandwide’s agreement, the waiting room and restrooms inside the 1,500 square foot station will be open to LIRR customers during peak weekday travel hours, from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. and from 7 to 8 p.m., according to Mr. Arena.

The Riverhead train station was first opened in 1845 and the current building dates back to 1910.

The LIRR’s parent, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, had issued a request for proposals for the station in 2012 and received three responses, with Islandwide determined to be the best, according to Mr. Arena.

A second cab company and a proposal to locate a café there were the other proposals, which were not identified by name.

The LIRR has a ticket vending machine at the station but closed its ticket office in the early 1972 due to low ridership.

“We hope Islandwide Transportation’s presence at the station will provide an extra convenience for our customers and improve conditions there,” said LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski in a press release. “It’s also a plus that the waiting room and restroom will be reopened, at least during part of the peak travel periods. Riverhead is a resurgent, vibrant community that has worked hard to improve its business district. The LIRR wants to be part of that effort.”

Islandwide will pay the LIRR an escalating annual rent that starts at $19,000 in the first year of the lease and rises annually to reach $24,790 in the tenth year. It will also make any needed repairs at its own expense and be solely responsible for all maintenance associated with the station building and surrounding exterior area, according to the LIRR.

The MTA did about $1 million in renovations to the Railroad Avenue station in the late 1990s and then leased it to the town at no charge in 2002, with a condition that it be occupied by a nonprofit organization. But the town was never able to find a tenant for the station, even when it has offered the building rent free.

08/12/14 12:00pm
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The Pfiefer community center building in Calverton.

The Pfiefer community center building in Calverton. (Credit: Tim Gannon, file)

Plans to move the Riverhead Animal Shelter to the Henry Pfeifer Community Center building in Calverton have become a bit more definitive.

The nonprofit North Fork Animal Welfare League, which operates the town’s shelter on Youngs Avenue, announced it has signed a lease agreement with Riverhead Town for use of the building.  (more…)