01/22/15 9:30am
01/22/2015 9:30 AM

The Town Board discussed a proposal that would allow applicants to pay an additional fee to have their application “expedited” at Thursday’s work session. The proposal would allow the town to hire an outside consultant to do the bulk of the review, and then that consultants consultants’ work would be reviewed by the town planning staff to ensure that it complies with regulations.

The proposal comes in the wake of concerns that applications will be backed up in the planning process due to staffing cuts in that department this year. The town did not fill the planning director and environmental planner positions following retirements in both of that slots, and the planning department is left with one planner, a part-time environmental planner and planning and building administrator Jeff Murphree, who oversees two departments.

The expedited review proposal would need a public hearing first, and the town must issue a request for proposals for consulting firms interested in doing the work. It’s not certain if this would need approval from the Civil Service Employees Association, the union that represents town workers.

To read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the work session, click below,  and scroll down for the full meeting agenda.

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 01-22-2015

 

January_22,_2015_-_Agenda(2) by Timesreview

12/16/14 12:00pm
12/16/2014 12:00 PM
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.

12/04/14 9:30am
12/04/2014 9:30 AM

liveblog

Expect the Edgar Allan Poe Festival to return to downtown Riverhead next Halloween. Town Board members welcomed the idea of bringing it back during a discussion with festival creator Sal St. George and BID president Ray Pickersgill at Thursday’s work session.  Mr. St. George said he’d like to do a “War of the Worlds” broadcast next year.  (more…)

10/07/14 2:00pm
10/07/2014 2:00 PM

liveblog

The pros and cons of flyboarding were debated at Tuesday’s Riverhead Town Board during a public hearing on a plan to regulate the up and coming sport, which is being done at Treasure Cove marina.

Jim Bissett IV, who operates Flyboard Long Island  at the marina, said the town’s proposal to push them 500 feet off shore was excessive, while some neighbors said the Flyboarding was noisy.

The board also voted to rezone the Second Street firehouse to DC-1, a mostly commercial zone that’s in place on most of downtown Main Street. The town agreed to change the zone as a condition of a $500,000 sale of the property to Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi, but some residents, as well as Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, argued that the town should seek new bids for the property now that it is rezoned to a more business-friendly zone.

The board also agreed, in a 3-2 vote, to authorize the conversion of the Henry Pfeifer Community Center in Calverton into a new town animal shelter.

 

(more…)

07/11/14 7:00am
07/11/2014 7:00 AM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead Town's planned bike path would run south from Route 25 along Line Road (above) before reaching an area near River Road.

Line Road (above) at EPCAL became a subject for debate during a bike path discussion at Town Hall. (Credit, Tim Gannon, file)

A discussion at Town Hall last week about a proposed nine-mile bike loop at Enterprise Park at Calverton showed that, at least for the moment, it will remain incomplete. That’s probably a good thing. Here’s why:  (more…)

10/26/13 12:00pm
10/26/2013 12:00 PM

R1024_Bike_TG_C.jpg

They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but I kinda did. At least the gear-shifting part and the keeping air in the tires part.

A few months ago, I dropped my car off at an auto repair shop, intending to use my brother’s bike — built sometime in the early 1980s — to get back home. As it turned out, the bike’s tires were flat and I found it didn’t fit in the car’s trunk, so that idea went nowhere.

Instead, I walked home from the repair shop … seven miles. That was enough walking for me. The next day, I bought a bike.

It’s a used bike, with a little switch that enables me to easily take off the front tire so the bike will fit in my car. This way, I can drive the bike to places more conducive to riding than where I live. Now that I had the bike, I figured the Tour de France couldn’t be far off — so long as I could drive there.

For the first week or so, I drove my bike to a lot of different places. Sure, I didn’t get out and actually sit on the bike and pedal, but it was there if I wanted it — or needed it.

Then one day, I decided I would bike over the Brooklyn Bridge, which I’ve been told has a bike lane running across it. So the bike and I went on a ride to Brooklyn, in my car. We took a few wrong turns, but eventually found the bridge (which, I suppose, isn’t that hard to find). Then we went looking for a place to park the car. I looked all over Brooklyn, reluctantly went into a parking garage that had only valet parking, backed into something, panicked and quickly exited the parking lot. I then spent time looking for a roadside parking space with no success. After a while, I just gave up and went home.

But I hadn’t given up entirely on being a biker.

On the last day before my next vacation, in September, I had to write a story on the completion of federally funded $3.2 million bike path from Calverton to Jamesport. As part of the story, I tried to call some local bike enthusiasts for comment. None of the bikers I contacted seemed too excited about this bike path, which basically consists of some widened roads and signage indicating that bikes go on the side of the road and the cars stay in the middle. Duh!

What the bikers were excited about was the bike path that runs around the Enterprise Park at Calverton. The bike enthusiasts see this as a potential major draw to the area, since there aren’t many places on Long Island, apparently, where people can ride around a nine-mile path. I had noticed a lot of people using it one Saturday, so on my next vacation, I packed the bike in the car, drove it to Calverton and tried out the EPCAL bike path.

Turns out, it’s pretty cool. Unlike riding on the road, it’s all inside the fence, so you can’t get hit by a car, unless you have really, really bad luck and get hit by one crossing the entrance road off Route 25. And, you can go as fast as you want, because it’s a relative straight path and has some long, but not steep, hills.

It’s also pretty scenic. You start at the dog park and ballfields area, then you get to ride around the back of the two fighter jets on display at the Grumman Memorial Park and then you go all the way around the Calverton Industries sand mine, which is a lot bigger than it appears from the road. Eventually the path disappears into woods and the paved part of the trail stops. That’s where I turned around and went back. My tally? EPCAL bike path: 1, Brooklyn Bridge bike path: 0.

The Town Board has applied for a grant to finish the EPCAL path so it goes completely around the EPCAL site, but that was a split vote, with three in support and two against. It remains to be seen if the town will get the grant or otherwise finish paving the path.

In the meantime, my bike and I drove to some other places, like the Country Fair, where I parked at Town Hall and rode to the fair, since it was tough finding parking.

That’s technically using the bike to avoid exercise rather than to get exercise, but it’s a start. I now figure I should be in the Tour de France in a year or so.

Tim Gannon is a longtime reporter for the Riverhead News-Review.

He can be reached at (631) 293-3200, ext. 242, or tgannon@timesreview.com.