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.

11/14/14 8:00am
11/14/2014 8:00 AM
Riverhead, Walmart, Newtown, Sandy Hook, Route 58, Riverhead

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said the owner of the former Walmart building on Route 58 may be interested in bringing in a movie theater. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio’s comment at the end of Thursday’s Town Board work session meeting almost flew under the public’s radar.

Someone might be interested in bringing a movie theater to Riverhead, she mentioned. (more…)

10/10/14 10:00am
10/10/2014 10:00 AM
A view of Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

A view of Iron Pier Beach in Jamesport. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Riverhead Town could be among the first municipalities in Suffolk County to take a proactive step in dealing with nitrogen pollution from wastewater, which is wreaking havoc on Peconic Bay and Long Island Sound waters.

The Riverhead Town Board is weighing a building code amendment that would strengthen requirements for septic system upgrades on certain home renovations beyond what is currently mandated by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

If passed, the change would require homeowners located within wetlands, beach, dune and bluff areas to upgrade septic systems when a renovation or home expansion is being completed, especially when it will impact wastewater flow.

Currently, the county requires a septic system upgrade only if a single or two family residence is being expanded to four bedrooms, Deputy Town Attorney Ann Marie Prudenti explained during an Oct. 2 town work session.

Upgrades would only be required to meet “current” health department standards, which do not yet mandate advanced denitrification systems that can carry a hefty price tag.

The county health department is currently testing such advanced systems, looking for one that is suitable for single home use that could — and likely will — become the standard requirement in the future, according to environmental advocates.

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who proposed the change, said the goal is to improve sanitary systems, particularly outdated cesspools, to a more advanced option such as a septic tank system, which includes what’s called a “leeching field” that allows more time for nitrogen to break down in wastewater before that water enters nearby groundwater, according to the not-for-profit Marine Biological Laboratory research center in Massachusetts.

Some area cesspools have been in the ground since before 1971, when the county first began regulating sanitary systems, Ms. Giglio said.

“It is important that we protect our water bodies, fisheries, lobsters and aquaculture from nitrates [nitrogen] directly flowing into the estuary,” she said. “I don’t want to waste time. It will improve our water quality and it is something that has needed to be done for a long time.”

According to Marine Biological Laboratory researchers, houses within 200 meters of the shoreline contribute more nitrogen to local estuaries, as wastewater has a shorter distance to travel before entering groundwater, limiting the natural nitrogen removal processes, which is why local coastal areas are being targeted.

Joe Hall, an environmental planner for the town, said the high concentration of homes near the water is probably the biggest cause of nitrogen pollution entering the Peconic Estuary, noting that a large portion of property within the town falls within the coastal areas discussed.

The need for change was sparked when a Jamesport homeowner was “practically rebuilding his home,” yet not required to update his outdated cesspool, Ms. Giglio said.

“Witnessing it first hand, what’s wrong with government [requirements], I took the first steps to improve our environmental water quality for all of the residents,” she said. “It may not be popular, this legislation, [but] as a legislator it is my responsibility to take action.”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said he supports the proposal, but is concerned it could allow the town building department to require homeowners to install a advanced denitrification system when one is approved down the road.

Ms. Giglio said she isn’t proposing the town “go to the fullest extent” and require denitrification systems — just yet.

“What I’m proposing now is an improvement on the current situation,” she said. “But if the Suffolk County Department of Health Services was to go forward and make those denitrification systems the new standard county requirement, my legislation would account for that.”

Water quality advocate Kevin McAllister said the proposed amendment would “simply bring systems up to the standard Suffolk County code, but the county code itself is deficient.

“The councilwoman’s proposal, it’s not cutting edge legislation,” he added. “It will just end up embroiling us in these baby steps. If we’re really going to be serious about addressing nitrogen we have to require denitrification upgrades.”

He noted that “baby steps” could end up costing Long Island homeowners more in the long run, as denitrification systems will inevitably become necessary to solve water quality issues in areas where sewering is not viable.

Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, said he is “encouraged that local government is finding it necessary to have more restrictive regulations in sensitive watershed areas — even more so than the county [health department].”

Riverhead Town is one of several area municipalities weighing regulatory action in an attempt to improve area water quality. Brookhaven Town officials are drafting regulations aimed at limiting the amount of nitrogen a home can discharge in the area near the Carmans River.

Southampton Town officials last April created a rebate incentive program to help area homeowners upgrade or repair outdated systems to meet the current county health department requirements, though the amount of funding secured for the initiative has already been extinguished.

Riverhead Town officials are expected to discuss the amendment further before releasing a final draft of the proposal. Ms. Giglio said she hopes to publish the proposed legislation by the end of October and announce a public hearing for mid-November.

cmiller@timesreview.com

08/15/14 6:00am
08/15/2014 6:00 AM
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.

(more…)

07/05/14 12:00pm
07/05/2014 12:00 PM
After opting not to sell the Second Street Firehouse earlier this year to Sufolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi, Town Board members decided on Tuesday to sell it to him for $500,000. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

After opting not to sell the Second Street Firehouse earlier this year to Sufolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi, Town Board members decided on Tuesday to sell it to him for $500,000. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

In February, amid concern about the high cost of finding a new home for the town’s Justice Court, a majority of Town Board members backed out of a deal to sell the Second Street firehouse to Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi.  (more…)

07/04/14 7:00am
07/04/2014 7:00 AM
The Gershow Recycling plant on Hubbard Avenue in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The Gershow Recycling plant on Hubbard Avenue in Riverhead. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

To the editor:

You would think that after running a highly negative campaign that yielded just 21 percent in last year’s Republican primary, Tony Coates would alter his snarky approach to Riverhead politics. But after having read his June 27 submission to the Riverhead News-Review, it’s apparent that Mr. Coates is doubling down on his pit bull politics.  (more…)