02/13/14 5:00am
02/13/2014 5:00 AM

We can agree that nitrates in our surface water are a problem and may be the cause of the brown tide and red tide in the bay. Politicians and environmental groups have proposed that the removal of nitrates from our sanitary systems will mitigate this problem, and are forming a Wastewater Commission, comprising appointed political members to force the removal of all existing sanitary systems within 1,000 feet of the surface waters.

That may sound simple, but on close analysis it is problematic. The removal of existing sanitary systems, especially for older homes, requires excavating and removing nearby trees, and possibly destroying driveways, patios or lawns. After the installation of the new, experimental system, you still will face the task of replanting trees, reseeding lawns and the possible reconstruction of patios and driveways. There would be about 80,000 homes affected, whose owners would need to spend up to $20,000 per home to comply with these new laws. That is a cost of $1.6 billion.

Most of those homes are on the East End’s twin forks.

The problem with this mandate is that the removal of nitrates from individual sanitary systems is a very complex scientific and engineering problem and, at the present time, there is no proven way to remove nitrates from individual sanitary systems. There are some experimental systems, but they have not demonstrated effectiveness over the long term. You do not want to spend that kind of money and destroy all those yards without a proven, long-term solution.

What is needed is a committee of scientists and engineers to resolve the technical and engineering problems first before a law is put into effect.

Solve the technical problems first, then form a commission to implement the effective solution.

Joseph Fischetti, Southold

Mr. Fischetti runs a civil and structural engineering practice in Southold.

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01/30/14 7:00am
01/30/2014 7:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The view from Route 105 bridge at Indian Island golf course as the Peconic River leads into the Bay.

To the editor:

I remember when platinum-based catalytic converters were first proposed. Comments were split between “it will bankrupt the automakers” and “no one will be able to afford new cars.” (more…)

01/23/14 7:00am
01/23/2014 7:00 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO  |   The deer population on the North Fork continues to grow.

To the editor:

Early in the morning of Jan. 19, I saw it lying in the road on Ludlam Avenue. My first thought was that it was too small to have made it through the winter, anyway. The least I could do was drag it off to the side of the road by the woods and notify the town. (more…)

01/16/14 6:00am
01/16/2014 6:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Vacant land is fast disappearing on Route 58. Irwin Garsten owns the above piece of property, just east of the Hudson Savings Bank building, where he has a site plan application for a shopping center.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Vacant land is fast disappearing on Route 58. Irwin Garsten owns the above piece of property, just east of the Hudson Savings Bank building, where he has a site plan application for a shopping center.

To the editor:

In your story about the dwindling commercial land along Big Box Alley (AKA, Route 58), it seems you neglected the next progression of commercial development. If we understand anything about real estate developers it is that turning land into big bank accounts is a never-ending endeavor, so the real question is, “What will they covet next?”

Can the 40 acres that were Homan’s Farm, on the northwest corner of Route 58 and Northville Turnpike, be preserved, or will that be the next shopping mall? The southeast corner is still undeveloped, though it’s mostly low-lying and swampy.

How far north can they still develop if they take land north of that intersection? Will Sound Avenue fall to the bulldozers? Can we reasonably defend that now well-traveled rural corridor from the lawyers of real estate developers, or not? If the commercializing of Riverhead with all that would never be permitted in Southold or Southampton teaches us anything, it is that nothing in Riverhead is sacred.

Edward Burke, Riverhead

12/19/13 6:00am
12/19/2013 6:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

To the Editor:

I have read with concern the stories about how the drop in Peconic real estate transfer tax (Community Preservation Fund) revenues is causing a shortfall in paying bonds used to buy farmland transfer development rights and open space.

It seems that years ago the bonds were predicated on the tax revenues continuing at the top of the real estate bubble. Now that the bubble has burst, our town government is looking to quick fixes — and possibly Riverhead taxpayers — to fix the budget hole.

I do not understand why no one is looking to any of the financial advisers who profited off of the bond deal to have them fix the problem they caused, if indeed the town looked elsewhere on advice on whether or not to enact this program.

If the call was made in-house, then those people in the town should be removed from making financial decisions. It would have been a matter of common sense that any borrowing and bond payments be based on, at most, an average of tax revenues over several years. An even safer number would have based the bond issuance on the prior low point of those revenues. This failure has a deep financial cost to us.

If any outside financial professionals could be considered liable for past, self-serving advice, then we need to seek legal remedies against them.

Ian Wilder, Riverhead