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…)

08/12/14 10:21am
Teresa McCaskie, of Mattituck, called for the shut down of East Hampton airport if a solution to noise couldn't be reached. (Jennifer Gustavson photo)

Mattituck resident Teresa McCaskie talking with an FAA representative at Monday night’s meeting. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Frustrated by years of incessant helicopter flights over their homes and summer homes, more than 200 citizens showed up at a forum Monday night in Southold to demand real solutions to what’s become a huge problem in the otherwise quiet hamlets that dot the North Fork: noise pollution.  (more…)

08/10/14 10:00am
08/10/2014 10:00 AM
A taxi cab crashed into this parked pickup truck last month. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

A taxi cab crashed into this parked pickup truck last month. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

After a car crash involving a Day and Night Taxi driver led to the company’s — and driver’s — taxi revocations, the company is appealing the town’s decision.

The Riverhead Town Board has scheduled an Aug. 19 public hearing at 7 p.m. about the appeal filed by Day and Night Taxi and Limo against the town’s recent revocation of its taxicab business license, which had allowed them to operate in town. (more…)

08/09/14 1:00pm
08/09/2014 1:00 PM
Neighbors have been complaining about noise and ground shaking near Gershow Recycling on Hubbard Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Neighbors have been complaining about noise and ground shaking near Gershow Recycling on Hubbard Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

In June, a state Supreme Court judge adjourned Riverhead Town’s lawsuit against Gershow Recycling until the town Planning Board makes a decision about whether Gershow — a thorn in the side of neighbors who have been complaining about excessive noise for over a year— is a different use from its previous operator on the Hubbard Avenue property.

But it now looks like the town has made that decision without the Planning Board. (more…)

08/08/14 12:00pm
08/08/2014 12:00 PM
Councilman John Dunleavy (left) and Sean Walter at a previous work session. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Councilman John Dunleavy (left) and Sean Walter at a previous work session. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Riverhead Town is facing a $4 million deficit and a potential 12.5 percent tax increase, even if its spending stays at current levels next year, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

It can either cut spending by $4 million, which he says would require the town to cut about 60 jobs, or it could increase taxes by 12.5 percent, which would require the town to pierce the state’s two-percent tax cap.  (more…)

08/06/14 2:04pm
08/06/2014 2:04 PM

EPCAL_signRiverhead Town is now one step closer to being able to sell individual lots at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The town has received a draft environmental impact study for its EPCAL reuse plan — a plan that seeks to subdivide the former Navy site into 50 lots and recommends a mix of business, residential and light industrial uses on about 600 acres of town-owned land.

The reuse plan is an attempt to replace the jobs that were lost when Grumman Corporation vacated the site in the mid-1990s.

The town paid nearly $450,000 for the study in 2011, and earlier this year approved over $160,000 in additional expenses attributed largely to negotiations with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Town Board plans to hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow to schedule a Sept. 3 public hearing at 7 p.m. on the DEIS, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

He expects the study to become finalized by the end of the year and for the 50-lot industrial subdivision the town is proposing at EPCAL to be approved by the town Planning Board shortly after.

The town cannot sell individual lots at EPCAL until they are formally subdivided. It also will need state Department of Environmental Conservation approval for its EPCAL reuse plan, since part of it is located within the boundaries of the state’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, which places restrictions on development near the Peconic River, Mr. Walter said.

08/06/14 10:00am
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Two traffic signals will be installed on Flanders Road. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

To deal with ongoing traffic safety concerns on Flanders Road, the state Department of Transportation will be installing two traffic signals along the state road, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr. announced Tuesday.  (more…)