12/10/14 10:29am
12/10/2014 10:29 AM
The current bus ban in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The current bus barn in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A new proposal to relocate the Riverhead School District’s bus barn to Calverton could appear on the May ballot — nearly two years after residents voted against a measure to move it to Riverside.

The school board approved an environmental study Tuesday of a nearly 7-acre lot located near the intersection of Edwards Avenue and Route 25. The property, which is owned by Edward Partridge, was previously used as a bus garage and currently operates as a tractor trailer facility, Superintendent Nancy Carney said.  (more…)

03/01/14 6:00am
03/01/2014 6:00 AM
A Riverhead School District-owned school bus. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A Riverhead School District-owned school bus. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A lot of questions and concerns bounced around this little brain of mine after hearing that the River-head School District is looking to purchase the TS Hauler property on Edwards Avenue in Calverton for the future location of a bus lot and garage.

Laurie Downs

Laurie Downs

(more…)

02/12/14 8:00am
02/12/2014 8:00 AM
Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney, standing, gave a budget presentation Tuesday night. (Photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney, standing, gave a budget presentation Tuesday night. (Photo by Jennifer Gustavson)

The Riverhead School District’s first debt service payment for the 2011 voter-approved capital improvement bond is due next fiscal year and is expected to increase the 2014-15 budget by about $2.8 million, Superintendent Nancy Carney said Tuesday night.

(more…)

09/20/13 12:22pm
Riverhead bus barn

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The bus garage is used for mini-bus storage and houses the Riverhead School District’s transportation and maintenance departments.

The Riverhead School District is seeking volunteers for a committee tasked with finding a way to deal with the district’s crumbling bus barn.

The maintenance and storage facility, located between district athletic fields on Osborn Avenue in Riverhead, was built in 1920 to house horses and has fallen into despair, school officials have said.

Members of the new committee will be asked to help find a new location for the bus facility or come up with a plan to redesign the existing facilities and parking areas. Volunteers will be asked to devote one to two evenings per month as plans are developed and finalized.

“We are hopeful that community members with expertise in real estate and transportation would be willing to help us to locate and design a facility that meets our needs and the financial needs of the taxpayers,” said Superintendent Nancy Carney.

In May, residents voted down a proposition that would have allowed the district to purchase two properties near Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside. That plan would have given the district access to a nearby industrial park and, through that property, to Route 24.

Members of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association were the primary critics of that proposal, and took the district to task for not including the community in the planning process.

The district owns 100 buses.

“Voters will have several opportunities to approve our plans,” school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse said in a statement. “Not only will they need to approve the acquisition of land, but they will also need to approve the expenditure of money from the savings account. These two votes ensure that the community will be involved in this process every step of the way.”

Those interested in joining the committee should e-mail Ms. Carney at nancy.carney@riverhead.net or write: 700 Osborne Ave., Riverhead, NY 11901.

jennifer@timesreview.com

07/24/13 6:00am
07/24/2013 6:00 AM
Bus_Garage_BE_R.jpg

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead School District plans to form a committee to decide if the district should keep its bus facility in Riverhead or relocate it.

Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney said Tuesday the district is planning to form a committee tasked with finding a solution to deal with the district’s crumbling bus barn.

Ms. Carney said during the school board’s regular meeting that residents will be invited to join the committee and further details about the volunteer group will be released in September through a press release.

The maintenance and storage facility located between district athletic fields on Harrison Avenue in Riverhead was first built in 1920 to house horses and has fallen into despair. Discussions on what to do with it had been put on the back burner due to budget constraints, Ms. Carney has said. (The district posted photos of the dilapidated condition of the facility earlier this year on its website.)

Residents voted down a May 21 proposition that would have allowed the district to acquire two properties adjacent to Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside. The deal would have given the district access to a nearby industrial park, and then to Route 24.

The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association opposed the project because it believed a school bus facility’s tax exemption goes against a revitalization plan nearly a decade in the making. After association members claimed the district failed to include the community in the planning process, it organized a campaign to have the Riverside land deal defeated.

When asked by a reporter if the Riverside location is officially off the table, Ms. Carney said the district will look into it again if the committee decides that the location is the best place for the bus garage.

“That’s the only way,” she said. “We’re going to brainstorm what are our options are: finding a place to move it to or renovating it in its place.”

Ms. Carney said the community-based planning process will be similar to the district’s Community Partnership for Revitalization committee, known as CPR, which was made up of district residents and employees. The volunteer group was asked to revise an infrastructure upgrade plan after the district’s proposed bond project was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in 2010. Residents ultimately approved a $78.3 million capital improvement bond project in 2011.

Ms. Carney updated the school board about those bond projects during Tuesday night’s meeting and said construction at Phillips Avenue, Riley Avenue and Aquebogue elementary schools is under way and detailed upcoming projects planned for the high school.

Reconfiguration of bus loops is being done at Riley Avenue and Aquebogue elementary schools, a sidewalk is being added to Edgar Avenue near the Aquebogue school and the second part of Phillips Avenue’s playground is being completed, she said.

The elementary schools will also receive new windows through an energy performance contract, which Ms. Carney said is separate from the voter-approved bond.

As for the high school, the front parking area and entrance will be closed once construction begins within the next two weeks, she said. The original auditorium is slated to get new flooring and seating. New flooring and bleachers are also being installed in the gym, Ms. Carney said.

“We’re in full construction mode,” she said. “There’s an incredible amount of work going on and we’re excited that we’re going to have buildings that look brand new come September.”

jennifer@timesreview.com

05/21/13 8:55pm
05/21/2013 8:55 PM
Riverhead school board

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead school board newcomer Chris Dorr and incumbent Amelia Lantz congratulate each other on their election victories Tuesday night.

Proposed 2013-14 spending plans for the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River school districts passed on Tuesday.

Times/Review Newsgroup covered the results live from across the town and the North Fork.

Click the blog box below to see what happened, as it happened.

Rivehead’s budget, which does not pierce the tax cap, passed 1,520 to 1,252. Riverhead incumbent school board member Jeff Falisi lost in a three-way race for two seats, with newcomer Chris Dorr taking a seat as the top vote-getter with 1,423.

Amelia Lantz came in second with 1,270 votes and Mr. Falisi received 1,082.

A proposition in Riverhead to start a capital reserve fund passed 1,382 to 1,266 and another, related proposition to purchase land in Riverside as part of a plan for a new bus maintenance and storage facility failed, 1,183 to 1,413.

Shoreham-Wading River’s proposed budget passed 1,005 to 504. That also does not pierce the state-mandated cap on year-to-year tax levy increases.

A ballot proposition to repair the high school roofs, address code violations and renovate science labs also passed, 1,137 to 369.

Of the two candidates seeking two open seats in Shoreham-Wading River, newcomer Sean Beran took home the most votes with 1,070. Incumbent Richard Pluschau got 1,061. More than a dozen write-in candidates got 1 vote each, officials said.

Read more in the May 23 News-Review newspaper.

05/04/13 5:24pm
05/04/2013 5:24 PM
Riverhead bus plan in Riverside

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Under the current plan, buses would be leaving Enterprise Zone Drive (above) and turning onto Route 24 in Riverside.

Residents weren’t shy about voicing their frustrations Friday night over Riverhead School District’s proposal to demolish and replace the bus barn at its main campus with a new garage and maintenance facility outside Phillips Avenue School in Riverside.

Dozens were in attendance at the Crohan Center in Flanders to hear Riverhead school district Superintendent Nancy Carney address the controversial issue.

Ms. Carney called the proposal the most fiscally responsible option to replace the crumbling bus barn off Osborn Avenue, which houses the transportation and maintenance departments. First built in 1920 to house horses, the bus barn has fallen into despair. In March, the school board decided to relocate its entire 100-bus fleet and repair facility.

Moving the garage to Riverside would prevent buses from running through residential areas, Ms. Carney said.

“One of the criticisms of the Riverhead School District is that we wait for things to come to crisis before they’re dealt with,” she said. “You can basically see the sky through the roof of the bus barn. It is not a building that can be in existence a whole lot longer.”

Concerns over increased traffic the new facility would bring to Route 24 and pollution from idling buses invoked strong opposition from residents.

“I have been here 20 years and everything is being dumped on Flanders,” Flanders resident Carl Iacone said. “I think that this is something the school district is looking to dump on Flanders.”

Officials have considered using district-owned land on Tuthills Lane in Aquebogue and space at the EPCAL property in Calverton for the terminal, however both locations were found to be too far removed to be a viable option, Ms. Carney said.

“Between the carbon monoxide and traffic, I think you need to go back to the drawing board on it,” said William Shaw.

Residents are being asked to approve two propositions on the May 21 ballot to move forward with the new bus terminal.

Proposition 1 requests the creation of a transportation, maintenance and athletic fields capital reserve fund that could $10 million over 10 years.

The reserve fund’s first deposit would come from the sale of the farmland on Tuthills Lane. The district 27 acres on the east side of that road in 1965 and is now looking to sell the development rights to Suffolk County. Officials estimate the sale would generate more than $1 million.

Proposition 2 calls for using some of the sale proceeds to acquire two properties adjacent to Phillips Avenue Elementary School for no more than $480,000 combined. That land would be the site of the proposed bus barn.

James Green, a district bus driver said he has “a grave concern about traffic. You got to know that there is no way you can put all these buses on Flanders’ roads. It sounds like there is some homework you’ve neglected to do.”

Ms. Carney said Proposition 2 gives the district some options. “It is does not mean we’re going to use it as a bus garage,” she said. “It allows us to purchase the property.”

If the proposition passes, the district would need to conduct a traffic study before a bus garage could be built, Ms. Carney said.