07/16/13 1:35pm
07/16/2013 1:35 PM

To the editor:

I want to apologize to the Riverhead taxpayers for the lack of oversight that occurred in the process of trying to obtain certificates of occupancy on my home. My husband owned the home for 17 years before I moved in and all of the improvements existed, with the exception of the addition. While I was newly married and the mother of our very young children, my husband was involved with the permitting of a proposed addition. Unfortunately between dust, dishes, and diapers I lost track of the process my husband had started. When refinancing the home we realized it had not been completed and we acted immediately to come into compliance. To rectify this issue, I have paid all necessary permit fees and penalties required by the Town of Riverhead and will remit payment for back taxes when calculated.

[Related: Coates says Giglio should resign; she says 'not a chance']

Though some have used this instance to attack my character, I remain steadfast in my commitment to serving the taxpayers of Riverhead.  Attempts to use this instance as a mudslinging campaign is a clear example of politics as usual —  but I am not a typical politician. I stand proudly on my achievements as a Riverhead Town councilwoman who values fiscally conservative principles. Since I was elected in 2009, I have worked to cut government waste and save much-needed tax dollars by working on code and contracts saving taxpayers $2 million townwide in their garbage tax, vamping up the town’s recycling efforts, subdividing land at EPCAL for high paying jobs, pursuit of the FAA coming to EPCAL and cutting back on spending $1 million. I have done my best to uphold the master plan when it comes to development and to respect the work that the taxpayers and my predecessors put into that plan.

While I am proud to stand on my record as a fiscal conservative, there is still much that needs to be done to make sure Riverhead continues on a path of sustainable growth. We need to continue the revitalization of downtown Riverhead and complete the subdivision at EPCAL. These are the issues that we should be talking about and these are the issues that I have, and will, continue to focus on going forward as a dedicated member of the Riverhead Town Board.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio

07/16/13 10:30am
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

UPDATE: Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio’s July 15 campaign finance disclosure forms have now been posted on the state Board of Elections website and, when combined with what she raised in the Jan. 15 reports, pull her ahead of fellow incumbent Republican Councilman John Dunleavy as having raised the most money for the coming town elections.

New July 15 reports were also posted Tuesday for Ann Cotten-DeGrasse, who is waging a Democratic primary for supervisor against  committee nominee Angela DeVito.

John Dunleavy of Riverhead

FILE PHOTO | Second-term Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy in Town Hall.

Reports for North Fork state Assembly candidates Tony Palumbo, the Republican candidate, and Democrat John McManmon, are also now available.

Ms. Giglio’s July 15 filings report contributions of $17,309 and spending at $20,771.

In January, she reporting raising $22,755 and spending $13,055.

By comparison, Mr. Dunleavy raised $25,430 in July and spent $16,220, but in January, he only raised $500, and spent $2,395.

Thus, the combined totals for the two filings show Ms. Giglio having raised  $40,064 and spent $33,826, and Mr. Dunleavy having raised $25,930 and spent  $18,615.

Among the contributions Ms. Giglio received in the July filings were $500 from Saber Riverhead, which is building a new shopping center on Route 58; $840 from Mainstream House on Sound Avenue in Riverhead; $500 from West RAC contracting of Hauppauge; $500 from Kevin Gershowitz of Gershow Recycling; $500 from M-GBC LLC, which is a company headed by Jan Burman that owns land at EPCAL, and $630 from East End Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery of East Main Street.

Among Ms. Giglio’s expenditures were $3,000 to Outerbanks — a restaurant run by her husband at Suffolk County’s Indian Island Country Club — for fundraiser and $200 for snow removal for about 100 spaces at Outerbanks, according to the filing.

She also paid $989 to Campaigns Unlimited of Shirley for fundraiser invitations and professional services, and $1,378 to GMG Printing and Marketing Resources of Shirley for fundraiser invitations.

Mr. Dunleavy paid $729 to Minute Man Press of Riverhead for fundraising and $10,850 to the Baiting Hollow Club for fundraisers.

On the snow removal for Outerbanks, Ms. Giglio said Tuesday the job was needed to clear space for people attending a Feb. 12 fundraiser there, a day after the Blizzard of 2013 struck the region.

“The county employees were not coming to clear the parking lot that night, as they normally would, so I had to pay so the people coming to my fundraiser could have somewhere to park,” Ms. Giglio explained.

She also said the $3,000 checks for the Outerbanks fundraiser actually went to a catering company called Strategic Maneuvers, which was hired to help run the February fundraiser.

Supervisor Sean Walter’s January reports show only $6,100 raised and $1,085 spent. He was running for a county Legislature seat at the time.

Ms. Cotten DeGrasse, meanwhile raised $3,765 and spent $1,262, according to the July 15 reports.

The state Assembly race is close in the fundraising department

Mr. Palumbo raised $24,785 and spent $8,678, while Mr. McManmon raised $21,425 and spent $2,671.

Ms. Giglio’s rival in a Republican primary, Anthony Coates, reported raising $5,275 and spending $4,631. His campaign spending included $1,698 to the Riverhead Project for a fundraiser and $515 to PDQ Print of Taylor, Penn. for campaign brochures, according to the July 15 filings.

He also paid an AT&T cell phone bill out of campaign funds, according to the report.

(Scroll down for a complete roundup.)

JULY 16 STORY: The first campaign finance disclosure forms of the political season were due Monday, and Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy is way out in front of everybody so far, with more than $25,430 raised between Jan 15 and July 15.

In the supervisor race, incumbent Republican Sean Walter is leading Democratic challenger Angela DeVito in the money-raising department, $18,077 to $13,930.

The reports, which are filed electronically and posted on the state Board of Elections website, were due Monday, although some candidates didn’t report any contributions or didn’t file on time.

John Conklin, a BOE spokesman, said workers there are filing the reports as they receive them, but that anything received after 5 p.m. Monday will not be posted until Tuesday, although anything received  up until midnight Monday would not be considered late.

If a candidate is more than five days late, the BOE could launch a lawsuit against that person, and could possibly fine them up to $1,000, Mr. Conklin said.

Mr. Dunleavy and primary challenger Anthony Coates were the only town council candidates to have filed the July 15 reports on the state site so far, but Republican Councilwoman Jodi Giglio had reported $22,755 raised in the Jan. 15 reports.

Among some of the larger contributions for Mr. Dunleavy were $1,000 from town building inspector Sharon Klos; $1,000 from Mainstram House, an alcohol rehab center on Sound Avenue; $900 each from Riverhead Ford Lincoln and Mattituck Sanitation; $737 apiece from Kevin and Marnie Gershowitz, of Gershow Recycling; $500 from Ron DeVito, who is proposing an assisted living project on Mill Road, and $675 from Jefferson Consultants, headed by Mark Lyons of Port Jefferson, who is working on that project as well; $500 from Giorgio’s Catering in Baiting Hollow; $900 from Bob Scheiner of H2M Engineering; $900 from builder Richard Wiedersum of Wiedersum Associates; and $900 from Jaral Riverhead, which owns the Holiday Inn Express on Route 58.

Mr. Dunleavy, a retired town police officer who was re-elected to a second term in 2009, said almost all of his contributions came from a golf fundraiser he held on July 9.

He said he thinks he received the support because people are happy with the job he’s done, not because they are looking for favors from the town.

“I work with everybody,” he said. “I don’t care if you give me $100 or you give me nothing. A lot of people gave me nothing but I work with them.”

Mr. Walter’s biggest contribution came from the Riverhead Republican Committee, which gave him $3,000. He also got $1,000 from George Regini of Giorgio’s Catering; $1,000 from Suffolk County Probation Officers; $500 from Apple Honda owner Irwin Garsten, who is seeking to build a shopping center next to Riverhead Centre on Route 58; and $500 from West RAC contracting of Hauppauge. He also got $500 from Green World Marketing of Northport and he reported $2,985 in contributions under $100 from a July 9 event. Those contributions are not required to be reported by name.

Ms. DeVito, (who is not related to the aforementioned Ronald DeVito) worked with a builder’s union for many years and received a lot of campaign contributions from unions, including $1,000 apiece from the Political Action League of two Ironworkers’s unions and $500 apiece from  a Sheetmetal Workers union PAC and from Bricklayers Local Union 1.

Ms. DeVito also got $705 from Paulette DeVito of Rocky Point; $500 from Amy and Jim Csorny of Wading River, who had been in court with the town over breach access disputes; and $300 from George and Christine Prete of Flanders. Ms. Prete had served with Ms. DeVito on the Riverhead Board of Education.

Among the larger contributors to Ms. Giglio’s campaign in the Jan. 15 report were $1,000 from Irwin Garsten; $800 from engineer Dennis Kelleher of H2M, which has worked for the town for many years; $525 from Henry Chlupsa, the president of consulting firm Dvirka and Bartilucci; and $500 apiece from Syp Industries of Manorville; $500 from Sypher Construction of Manorville, and Bench Strength Partners of Floral Park.

Mr. Coates’ biggest contribution was $1,000 from Stacey Polites and $500 from Lia Polites, who is one of the owners of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn. He also received $500 from Mainstream House.

The Riverhead Republican committee got a $250 donation from Ronald DeVito, but most of its contributions were not larger than $200.

The Riverhead Democratic Committee had not filed the July 15 report, but the Jan. 15 report showed the Democrats owed $6,862.

There were no campaign committees listed for Riverhead Democratic council candidates Millie Thomas and Bill Bianchi.

Anne Cotten DeGrasse, who is challenging Ms. DeVito in a primary for the Democratic supervisor nod, had a committee but did not report any campaign finance activity.

tgannon@timesreview.com

More by the numbers:

Friends of Sean Walter

raised $18,077

spent  $16,239

Angela DeVito for Supervisor

raised $13,930

spent $9,956

Friends of John Dunleavy

raised $25,430

spent $16,220

Vote Coates 13 (Anthony Coates)

raised $5,275

spent $4,631

Riverhead Republican Committee

raised $6,115

spent  $7,172

Riverhead Town Democratic Committee

raised $6,205

spent $5,548

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio

July

raised $17,309

spent $20,771

January

raised $22,755

spent $13,055

Councilman John Dunleavy

July

raised $25,430

spent $16,220

January

raised $500

spent $2,395

Ann Cotten-DeGrasse

raised $3,765

spent $1,262

Tony Palumbo

raised $24,785

spent $8,678

John McManmon

raised $21,425

spent $2,671

07/12/13 2:30pm

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTOS | Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (left) is currently engaged in a bitter primary battle with Anthony Coates.

Hours after her primary opponent called for her resignation over online reports that she made alterations to her house without town approvals, Republican Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said there’s “not a chance” she will.

“Let my record stand for itself and the taxpayers of the Town of Riverhead decide my fate as an elected official,” Ms. Giglio said in an email to the News-Review Thursday evening. “Resign? Not a chance.”

Ms. Giglio only recently got part of her Baiting Hollow home up to code, according to a story first reported on riverheadlocal.com. The house had an ingr0und swimming pool and other backyard amenities installed in 1999, and later a finished basement and second-story addition, according to the report.

A certificate of occupancy for the pool wasn’t issued until June 20 of this year. A certificate of occupancy for the finished basement was also issued in June of this year, and a CO for the addition is still outstanding, according to the report.

The RiverheadLOCAL story also detailed how Ms. Giglio’s property value had not been reassessed to reflect the work done in the basement or the second-floor addition, though the assessed value of the home was raised after the pool was installed.

When contacted by the News-Review about the report Thursday, Town Board hopeful Anthony Coates, who is challenging Ms. Giglio in a Sept. 10 Republican primary election, said he believes the councilwoman should step down from her elected office.

“The hand is caught in the cookie jar and frankly, I think she should resign,” Mr. Coates said. “This is a big thumbing your nose at every citizen of Riverhead who does pay their fees.”

Ms. Giglio said the call for resignation, and the Coates campaign in general, is all part of a “personal crusade” following her voting against his appointment to a town legislative secretary job, a position that would have had him working on getting a proposed commission to fast-track development in Albany approved.

Mr. Coates said that’s not why he’s running.

“When they didn’t give me that job I did it anyway,” Mr. Coates said, pointing to trips he made to Albany along with Supervisor Sean Walter and the recent approval of fast-track legislation by the state Legislature. “If there’s anything called a vendetta here it’s really on her. She’s the one who banned me from riding in town vehicles. She’s the one who tried to ban me from Town Hall.”

Still, Mr. Coates was quick to admit there’s no love lost on either side of what is becoming a fierce primary battle.

“There’s definitely no Christmas cards being exchanged [between us],” Mr. Coates said. “But I do think it’s important for people to know this isn’t about [a personal crusade.]

“I didn’t start off my [campaign because of] a problem with Jodi Giglio,” he said. “It’s the facts and the lies that have made me have an issue with Jodi. My campaign is about real questions of ethics with her and her conflicts of interests.”

Ms. Giglio said Friday she “never banned Mr. Coates from Town Hall or from town vehicles.”

“This is just some rhetoric from him that makes me look like someone I’m not,” she said. “It’s just him spewing lies.”

Both candidates said they don’t believe their opponent is “fit to hold office.”

gparpan@timesreview.com

07/11/13 6:33pm
Jodi Giglio and Sean Walter

FILE PHOTO | Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio during a disagreement in 2012.

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio — who is locked in a heated Republican primary for a Town Council nomination — only recently got part of her Baiting Hollow home up to code after several alterations were made over the course of years that improved the property, according to RiverheadLOCAL.com.

The house had an ingr0und swimming pool and other backyard amenities installed in 1999, and later a finished basement and second-story addition, according to a report published Thursday by the online news outlet.

A certificate of occupancy for the pool wasn’t issued until June 20 of this year. A certificate of occupancy for the finished basement was also issued in June of this year, and a CO for the addition is still outstanding, according to the report.

The RiverheadLOCAL story also detailed how Ms. Giglio’s property value had not been reassessed to reflect the work done in the basement or the second-floor addition, though the assessed value of the home was raised after the pool was installed.

“I was stunned that these permits were still open,” Supervisor Sean Walter said in an interview with the News-Review Thursday. “This was an issue in 2009 and I was assured when we ran as a team that this was resolved, and then after we got elected, I found out it wasn’t resolved.

“I spoke to her on multiple occasions about getting it resolved and I was assured by both her and by Republican party leadership that all these issues were resolved on multiple occasions. It’s unfortunate. She’s got to get it resolved immediately. I think elected officials have to be held to a higher standard than what residents are when it comes to things like getting town permits.”

Reached Thursday afternoon, Ms. Giglio said there was “no wrongdoing on my part,” and that she and her husband had been trying to finalize permit issues with the town ever since they tried to refinance the house in 2009.

“Despite what the supervisor alluded to [in the RiverheadLOCAL report], I did not receive any favors,” she said. “We applied for all the permits, and that information is supposed to be automatically transferred over to the assessor’s office.”

She also denied having any conversations about her house with Supervisor Sean Walter, a fellow Republican but political rival.

“That’s a bunch of crock,” she said. “Sean and I had never had a discussion about my house. Not once, ever.”

The first-term councilwoman is being challenged for the Republican nomination by a former Walter adviser, Anthony Coates, who has repeatedly publicly criticized Ms. Giglio.

“It just goes to show the type of character you get, when those resort to mudslinging on personal issues rather than the voting record of the candidate they’re opposing,” Ms. Giglio said. “Because I’ve always been a steward for the taxpayers and watched their money as if it were my own.”

She said her $12,000 a year taxes would likely rise by about $1,000 annually after the property tax assessment is adjusted to reflect the improvements, and she would be willing to repay any back taxes for what she described as an internal oversight.

Ms. Giglio added that she didn’t live in the Baiting Hollow home in 1999, but in Wading River. Her husband’s company, Structural Technologies, owned the property and was renting it to a sales manager at the time.

She said the basement was also finished before she and her husband moved in, and the couple had the addition built in late 2004, months after their twins were born and she was caring for three small children.

“I didn’t even take title to the property or have my name on the deed until 2004,”  she said. “And we’ve been trying to get the permits ever since. My house has been inspected on more than three occasions for the pool and the addition.”

Mr. Coates said he had inquired about the matter himself with the building department about the time of the May 23 Republican Convention and confirmed what he said had been rumors for years about work at the Giglio property and expired permits.

“This is exactly what I’ve been talking about in the campaign,” said Mr. Coates. “There’s an attitude of entitlement and a real disregard for the process that seems to pervade out of elected officials.”

“This really came to a head with the cavalier attitude about the waiving of the building permits for Athens Grill and the Rendezvous,” he said in reference to a recent vote of the Town Board to waive fees for two fire-damaged restaurants downtown, of which Ms. Giglio abstained, saying she believed insurance would cover the fees and wanting to find out out more information.

“It’s a complete double standard for an elected official versus the stand for the public,” he continued. “Anyone who has filed a permit for a deck or pool or a minor repair knows the hoops they have to go through. Jodi Giglio is an expediter. Did she not do her job as an expediter? Or is she not doing her job as a Town Board member? Either way, it’s a real indictment.”

“I feel vindicated that what I’ve been talking about is accurate,” he added. “The town needs a shaking up.”

Republican vice chairman Mason Haas, who is also a town tax assessor and had flirted with the idea of challenging Mr. Walter for the Republican supervisor nod, told the News-Review Thursday that Ms. Giglio’s CO issues are not unique.

“I’m not speaking because I’m vice chair, I’m speaking because it’s wrong to imply anyone is covering anything up,” said Mr. Haas, who was elected assessor in 2007 and started working on residential grievances in 2009, when he said he started to notice flaws in the town’s system of communication between the building department and assessors.

“I was a little shocked at what Sean said about the permit thing,” he said. “I’ve been screaming for two years about the system [in town], because as a businessman who comes from the private sector, the system is broken in the building department.”

“When they issue a permit they’re supposed to forward them to the assessor’s office,” he continued. “It is not uncommon that we don’t get the building permit. What I implemented last year, was that when permits get issued they automatically get emailed. I’m not here to say Jodi’s right or wrong, but what I will say is it’s a very common problem that I’m trying to fix as we go.”

He said the town’s computer systems are too outdated to implement new software and there’s no money for upgrades.

Mr. Haas and other Republican leaders have also been outwardly criticized by Mr. Coates during the Coates campaign, first announced last fall.

“When I met with party leadership and they tried to talk me out of the race,” Mr. Coates said. “I said there were three things they needed to provide to me as a condition of my withdrawal.” Among them were “the permits on Jodi Giglio’s home, which I had heard for years and years didn’t exist. This is a decade, for a woman who was an expediter,” he said.

“I was rejected flatly,” he continued, adding that he looked into the permit matter himself. “I never filed a [Freedom of Information Law request]. I called an inquired about one for her building permits. [Party leaders] knew I was coming and they knew I was serious because I raised the question at the convention. Mason told me they existed. Then June 20, they miraculously show up.

“After 10 years of non-compliance, Jodi decided to finally comply after I rang the warning bell.”

tgannon@timesreview.com

06/22/13 8:00am
GOOGLE MAPS | The land Suffolk County is looking to preserve is on the west side of Park Road and fronts Sound Avenue.

GOOGLE MAPS | The land Suffolk County is looking to preserve is on the west side of Park Road and fronts Sound Avenue.

We would like to clear up some misconceptions about the potential preservation of 15 acres of land on the northwest corner of Sound Avenue and Park Road, near Reeves Park.

We are writing to show our support for Suffolk County’s acquisition of the entire parcel, owned by Ed Broidy, as farmland preservation instead of parkland preservation. We feel this would ensure the property will continue to be farmed forever for future generations as a real working farm.

In a current lawsuit settlement between Mr. Broidy and the Town of Riverhead, the landowner would preserve seven acres along Sound Avenue as farmland and be able to build 15 homes to the north, on the remaining eight acres.

[Related: Don't undermine preservation efforts]

Suffolk County is looking to purchase this property to create a park, which would include recreation trails and parking for the facility. This land has been farmed for 200 years and it is almost unthinkable to take a prime-soil farm out of production and replace it with a Suffolk County park. You only have to wonder what county officials were thinking about to put hiking trails in the middle of an open potato field. We have trails at our 2,000-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton property, 300 acres at the newly purchased North Fork Preserve and many other trails throughout Riverhead Town.

The land proposed to be preserved as park would require taking the entire property out of farming permanently and would require not only use of town Community Preservation Fund monies, which have been depleted in recent years, but also ongoing maintenance of the park with town resources — on behalf of all Suffolk County residents.

The Town currently owes over $76 million in debt in open space purchases and incoming CPF funds can no longer keep up with the annual debt service. CPF proceeds come from a tax on property sales. Unless the economy makes a big recovery, our reserves will be depleted in five years. At that time, our taxpayers will be facing a big increase in their taxes, as we would then have to dip into the general fund to make up for the debt payment shortfalls.

This potential debt would rival our suffocating landfill debt. It would be irresponsible to continue to spend money we don’t have. On the other hand, a farmland purchase of development rights by the county would add nothing to this debt, and is by far the better option to see the entire 15 acres preserved.

We would like to see this farm continue for another 200 years. The overwhelming majority of Reeves Park residents we have spoken to support a farmland purchase over the proposed park. On another note, to the Reeves Park residents, if this county park is built, the once-quiet Reeves Beach will be gone forever.

Step up, Suffolk County officials, and listen to our residents.

We had a conversation with the farmer who has been farming there and he indicated he would like to continue to farm the parcel. In speaking with Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, we are all in agreement that this would be the best benefit to the community.

It seems reasonable that an agreement can be reached among Suffolk County, Riverhead Town, the landowner, and the farmer to make this a reality. A win-win for all. It is much more desirable to preserve this entire parcel as farmland in keeping with our rural character, farm heritage and agritourism focus.

We believe preserving this parcel as farmland would be in keeping with the rural character of Sound Avenue and support the Scenic Rural Historic Corridor.

Ms. Giglio, of Baiting Hollow, and Mr. Gabrielsen, of Jamesport, are both members of the Riverhead Town Board.

06/13/13 6:13pm
06/13/2013 6:13 PM
Broidy in Reeves Park

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The land just west of Park Road/Thomas Kelly Memorial Drive that nearby Reeves Park residents have wanted to see preserved.

Two Riverhead Town Board members who oppose a plan by Suffolk County to purchase 15 acres of land on Sound Avenue as open space now say they would support  a move by the county to preserve the property as farmland instead.

But county officials say such a move would require the entire potential acquisition process to start again, with no guarantees the county will be making any offers on the land.

Council members Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen sent a letter to county Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) Thursday voicing their support for preservation of the land as farmland, rather than open space.

Under the county’s farmland preservation program,  the county would buy what’s called development rights and the land could only be used for agriculture in the future.

“The property being preserved as parkland would require taking the entire property out of farming permanently and would not only require use of town Community Preservation Fund funds, which have been depleted in recent years, but also ongoing maintenance of the park with town resources, on behalf of all Suffolk County residents,” reads the letter, which was also sent to the News-Review.

The councilpeople say it is more desirable to preserve the land as farmland, which would be “in keeping with the rural character of Sound Avenue and would support the Scenic Rural Historic Corridor.”

The land in question is just shy of 15 acres of farmland stretching north from the northwest corner of Park Road (also called Thomas Kelly Memorial Drive) and Sound Avenue.

[See interactive map below]

It is owned by Ed Broidy, a developer whose Boom Development company first proposed a commercial shopping center at the site in 2003, a plan that met with community opposition.

When the town rezoned the property to residential uses in the mid-2000s, Mr. Broidy sued, but later offered a settlement in which he would develop the land residentially, with one seven-acre farm and 16 residential lots on the remainder of the land.

The county later proposed to acquire the land as open space under the “active recreation” section of the voter-approved drinking water protection program, for use as a fitness trail. However, that section of the program requires that a town or private entity act as a partner to manage the recreation use, and submit a plan to do so beforehand.

Riverhead Town officials estimated the cost of creating the fitness trail at about $70,000, and council members Gabrielsen and Giglio opposed doing so, saying at a recent public Town Board work session the town doesn’t have the money.

Without the support of Ms. Giglio or Mr. Gabrielsen, and since Supervisor Sean Walter once represented Mr. Broidy as his attorney and recused himself from the discussion, the Town Board wouldn’t have three votes to support of the acquisition.

That would mean the county could not proceed in purchasing the parcel.

Mr. Krupski, whose district spans the North Fork, said Friday that he plans to speak with Mr. Broidy next week, but he said preserving the land as farmland would require a whole new process be started at the county level.

On the other hand, he said, the alternative could be that the land isn’t preserved at all.

The acquisition of the farmland development rights also would require that the land be farmed, and Mr. Broidy has indicated in the past that he is not interested in doing that.

There currently is no application with the county for the purchase of the farmland development rights on the Broidy parcel, officials say.

Mr. Broidy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Long Island Pine Barrens Society executive director Richard Amper has been critical of the two council member’s opposition to the park purchase.

“It’s properly purchased as open space,” he said Friday. “The county approved the purchase on the basis of its suitability for trails and recreation. The county got it right, Gabrielsen and Giglio have it wrong. Development rights are purchased only with the expectation that the land owner is going to continue to farm the land.

“That’s not going to happen here.”

Mr. Amper said the purchase would be “a gift from the county…why don’t they just say ‘thank you?”

tgannon@timesreview.com


View Larger Map

06/13/13 8:00am
GOOGLE MAPS | The land Suffolk County is looking to preserve is on the west side of Park Road and fronts Sound Avenue.

GOOGLE MAPS | The land Suffolk County is looking to preserve is on the west side of Park Road and fronts Sound Avenue, just south of the Reeves Park neighborhood.

Riverhead Town should not dare to scuttle Suffolk County’s plans to purchase 15 acres of farmland along Sound Avenue for preservation.

The property stretches north into the Reeves Park neighborhood, and Reeves Park residents — as well as others across the North Fork and all Suffolk County — have made it clear that developing the state-designated rural corridor is not in the best interest of the neighbors, or the region as a whole.

Yet town council members Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen have said they don’t want the town to contribute the $75,000 that would allow the joint purchase to move forward. They argue the town shouldn’t be taking developable land off tax rolls and that Riverhead’s preservation funds are dwindling. But last we checked, housing developments weren’t exactly money-makers. And $75,000 for 15 acres is an excellent deal that won’t break the bank.

The two council members have the power to block the move. Supervisor Sean Walter has recused himself from a vote because he used to represent property owner Ed Broidy as a lawyer. If Ms. Giglio and Mr. Gabrielsen do kill the measure, they would not be acting as fiscal conservatives, as they might believe. They would instead be acting penny wise and pound foolish, as Councilman James Wooten has said.

Too much money and effort have been invested over decades into preserving Sound Avenue as a treasure for all Long Islanders, starting in earnest with the two-lane highway’s designation by the state as a historic rural corridor. There have been years of litigation between the town and Mr. Broidy since the town’s master plan rezoned the land (and other parcels on Sound Avenue). In the meantime, former county legislator Ed Romaine lobbied hard to get support for Suffolk County’s purchase of the Broidy property, with area civic leaders and other residents showing up in Hauppauge to support preservation efforts. This newspaper took the unusual step of running an opinion-based photo spread of rural Sound Avenue on its cover, urging the county to act to protect the corridor. Residents later displayed those photos to county lawmakers in Hauppauge to help win support for the cause.

Throw into the mix developer Kenn Barra, who has recently sold a 4.1-acre property on the east side of Park Road, also fronting Sound Avenue, to the county for parkland. That done, one might have thought preservation of the Broidy land was also nearing the finish line.

But now it seems the deal might be dead — and over a measly $75,000?

Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski should step in and pressure Ms. Giglio and Mr. Gabrielsen to vote with their constituents. There may be no better example in this town of open space that should be preserved. It’s been 10 years since Mr. Broidy proposed a 22,000-square-foot shopping center for the site, causing great dismay among preservationists and everyday citizens. It’s now time to put this all behind us.

06/08/13 6:00am
06/08/2013 6:00 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (right) and the rest of the Riverhead Republican nominees, from left, Mike Panchak, Laverne Tennenberg, John Dunleavy, Sean Walter and Anthony Palumbo at the committee’s nominating convention last month.

“I had nothing to do with her not getting the Conservative Party line,” Charles Sclafani said this week in response to Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio’s claim she might have been left off the Conservative line for the November elections because she opposed a resolution awarding a mold remediation contract to a company owned by Mr. Sclafani’s brother back in 2010.

Mr. Sclafani suggested Ms. Giglio’s position on that contract might have been because a competing mold company was a contributor to her campaign.

Ms. Giglio was the only Riverhead Republican Committee nominees for town offices not also being endorsed by the Suffolk County Conservative Party.

Instead, the Conservatives only nominated one of the two Republican council candidates — Councilman John Dunleavy — and made no recommendation on the other seat, for which the Riverhead Republican Committee nominated Ms. Giglio, an incumbent.

Anthony Coates, a former adviser to Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, is running a Republican primary for a Town Council seat.

Ms. Giglio said in an interview Tuesday that she felt her stance on the 2010 mold remediation contract played a role in the Conservative party decision. Charles Sclafani is a Conservative Party member and his wife, Carol, is local Conservative committee treasurer and an assistant in Supervisor Sean Walter’s office.

Mr. Walter also is a former leader of the town Conservative party, although he is now a registered Republican.

“It’s been said repeatedly that I wouldn’t get Conservative support ever since the no-bid mold contract issue,” Ms. Giglio told the News-Review in a riverheadnewsreview.com story published Tuesday and in this week’s News-Review newspaper.

“I am not involved in any of these decisions by the Conservative party,” Charles Sclafani countered on Wednesday. “They don’t ask my opinion or seek my opinion.”

He said that while he is a member of the town Conservative committee, that committee isn’t technically even active since it hasn’t had a chairman in more than a year.

Conservative party decisions in Riverhead Town and the rest of the East End are made by the Suffolk County Conservative committee, he said.

Suffolk County Conservative chairman Ed Walsh confirmed this week that he’s in charged of the East End Conservative groups, adding that the mold contract had nothing to do with the decision.

He said the committee was split on whether to endorse Ms. Giglio or Mr. Coates, so decided to go with neither.

Mr. Sclafani, meanwhile, questioned if Ms. Giglio’s opposition to giving the mold remediation contract to his brother’s company was due to the fact that another mold remediation company was a big campaign contributor for Ms. Giglio.

“Her campaign disclosure reports from 2009 show a $1,000 donation from Mold Terminators Inc. of Miller Place,” Mr. Sclafani said. “So would that have anything to do with her being upset? That her largest donator wasn’t called?”

Not true, according to Ms. Giglio, who said her opposition to the mold remediation contract was due to the fact that it was being done on an “emergency” basis with no competitive bidding.

She said the storm that flooded the Jamesport Community Center in 2010 happened in mid-March, the town attorney’s office wrote a letter recommending the mold remediation job go out to competitive bids in late April, and the town waited six weeks before doing anything, and then said it needed to issue an emergency contract, without bids, so that some summer programs could start on time.

“My wanting to save the taxpayers money has nothing to do with a campaign contribution I had gotten,” she said.

Ms. Giglio and Mr. Walter have publicly feuded many times in the past three years, and Mr. Coates, who had been a political advisor to Mr. Walter, has stated that he endorses Mr. Dunleavy and he has specifically targeted Ms. Giglio in the Rebpublican primary campaign.

Officially, all three candidates must run for the same two seats in the at-large primary.

tgannon@timesreview.com