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

12/12/13 7:00am
12/12/2013 7:00 AM
JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

JIM COLLIGAN FILE PHOTO

To the editor:

It was appalling to learn that a tentative plan is in place to kill thousands of deer across Brookhaven and the East End using trained snipers to manage the growing population.

The plan, which would also include bow hunters to come within 150 feet of private residences rather than the current regulation of 500 feet, is extremely dangerous and perhaps deadly.

Rather than create an inhumane agenda to deal with the growing deer population, why were methods not in place all along to inhibit the expansion of this docile species across eastern Long Island?

Deer culling, the management of a deer population in a certain area, using birth control vaccines has been successful in national parks for years. Instead, we choose to have hunters hanging from trees in the dark targeting innocent animals. Rather than tout this plan, we should be ashamed to even present it.

Jason Hill, Ridge

12/05/13 6:00am
FILE PHOTO |

FILE PHOTO |  Pulaski Street School first opened in 1937.

To the editor:

The Riverhead Landmarks Preservation Commission commends the Riverhead Central School District and BBS Architects for developing plans for additions to the Roanoke Avenue and the Pulaski Street schools that are sensitive to their historic architecture.

The Roanoke Avenue School, which opened as a high school in 1924, is the oldest in the town. Reflecting the town’s understanding of the importance of education, it was referred to as the “million dollar school,” although it almost certainly did not cost nearly that much. With numerous Greek and Roman architectural allusions, this structure is a course in architectural history in itself. Recognizing its significance, the Riverhead Town Board designated it as an official town landmark in 2005. It is also included as a contributing building in the Downtown Riverhead Historic District, created by the Town Board in 2006.

The 1937 Pulaski Street School is perhaps even more architecturally interesting. Designed by a Southampton architect, William I. La Fon, nearly half the cost came from federal WPA funding designed to alleviate effects of the Great Depression. Although not officially designated yet as a town landmark, it is certainly equally deserving of that honor.

Recently, BBS Architects and school district representatives met with the commission and presented plans for additions to both structures. In each case the designs respect and replicate elements of the original historic architecture, but also adapt these buildings to fit current educational requirements.

We thank the Riverhead Central School District for being such a good custodian of the historic resources under its control.

We also want to thank school Superintendent Nancy Carney for asking the Landmarks Preservation Commission to review this project, even though there was no legal requirement for the district to do so.

Richard Wines, chairman, Riverhead Landmarks Preservation Commission

11/15/13 11:00am
11/15/2013 11:00 AM
An artist rendering of the First Baptist Church (far left) and the community center.

An artist rendering of the First Baptist Church (far left) and the community center.

To the editor:

The Rev. Charles Coverdale and Shirley Cloverdale have my admiration for their dedication to their church and community. But the Riverhead Town Board must consider the impact on the whole town before it approves zoning that would allow a high-density housing project exempt from property taxes, which will add millions of dollars to our school budgets.

The town’s auditors have warned of a “catastrophic” tax increase and our schools are bursting at the seams — with 200 more kids than expected this year alone. With the cost to educate a student upwards of $16,000 per child in the Riverhead district, just one student per household in the proposed, 132-unit complex would add $2.1 million per year to the school budget.

The claim that there is a compelling need for work force housing is belied by the limited success of another government subsidized project — Summerwind Square, which is still not fully rented.

The Rev. Coverdale has flatly rejected payment of school taxes because his organization is tax-exempt — the effect of which is to have the rest of Riverhead’s already strapped taxpayers subsidize his ambitious project by a likely double-digit increase in property taxes. When added to a catastrophic increase in town taxes, the burden that would be created by a tax-exempt project is far too much for our citizens to bear.

Ron Hariri, Aquebogue

11/07/13 6:00am
11/07/2013 6:00 AM

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To the editor:

I disagree with those that think Common Core can be adjusted to the point were it is acceptable to all. It’s the start of selling any control of your child’s education over to the federal government. Some may say there are some good points to it. Some said there were good points to many disasters in world history. This can only be an all-or-nothing battle. We can’t open this door and try to close it in years to come; it’s the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent.”

I suggest doing your homework on this. Check out the businesses that are pushing this and what they stand to gain once there is no turning back. It’s sad; it’s all about the money. Not the children’s future.

Let them take over the Department of Motor Vehicles or something like that. Let’s let our teachers teach. It’s worth the fight.

Denis Noncarrow, Peconic

10/31/13 1:00am
10/31/2013 1:00 AM

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To the editor:

I have no doubt that if reporter Tim Gannon continues biking regularly on the EPCAL Recreation Path he will be ready for the 2014 Tour de France. Furthermore, if he had started using the path last winter for improving his skiing techniques, we would be sending him to the winter Olympics in Sochi with the rest of the U.S. Ski team. Next time, Tim.

One correction to Tim’s column on bicycling: the Town Board vote on the resolution to apply for the grant funding to complete the path was 4 to 1, with Supervisor Sean Walter dissenting. Regardless, Sean later mentioned to me he likes the path because he can drive on it to show off the real estate at EPCAL to potential buyers. We really need to fix that.

When the EPCAL path is completed and the proposed trail between Port Jefferson and Wading River becomes a reality, all bicyclists will need to do is bike the three or so miles on wide shoulders of Route 25A to get from one to the other. Wow.

George Bartunek, Calverton

To read more letters to the editor, pick of a copy of this week’s Riverhead News-Review on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

10/17/13 7:00am
10/17/2013 7:00 AM
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Excavation in July at the site of a future Costco on Route 58.

To the editor:

There certainly should have been more consideration afforded the adjacent community by the contractor of the Shops at Riverhead. I fully support the protesters for the lack of local workers — both union and non-union.

Jobs should be a primary consideration in approving any major construction.

However, the protesting politicians who are against the coming of Costco, and view it as an issue to hang their hats on, are in for an unpleasant surprise. Everyone I have spoken to has only one major complaint: “What’s taking so long to open? We can’t wait!”

And all reports indicate Costco pays relatively excellent pay and benefits, while also offering a realistic path to advancement. Sounds like a great addition to Riverhead.

Ed Goldstein, Baiting Hollow