10/16/13 6:55pm
10/16/2013 6:55 PM


The Riverhead Town Board adopted resolutions at its board meeting Wednesday to increase the required buffer between large commercial developments and homes to 50 feet for projects over 5,000 square feet and 25 feet for projects under 5,000 square feet. The vote was 4-0 with Councilman John Dunleavy absent. The new buffer requirements come in response to the clear cutting of trees at the Shops at Riverhead on Route 58.

The board also adopted new parking requirements that lessen the amount of parking that shopping centers must build. The move was done to reduce the number of trees that need to be cleared. Larry Simms of South Jamesport, a member of the Save Main Road group, urged the town not to adopt the change until certain loopholes are closed. The board, though, voted 4-0 to adopt the new requirements.

The board also voted 4-0 to require rentals of residences to be for at least 30 days, a move intended to prevent people from renting homes out for a weekend to different groups each week. Officials said they have received complaints about these so-called “party houses.”

Mr. Simms had asked the board to hold off on adopting this proposal as well, saying it had some problems that needed to be addressed first. One example he cited was the fact that the town code limits stays at bed and breakfasts to under 14 days, while this proposal requires stays in residential houses to be at least 29 days.

To read what else happened at the Town Board meeting, click below to read reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog from the meeting.

October 16, 2013 – Agenda by Riverhead News-Review


October 16, 2013 – Packet by Riverhead News-Review

10/10/13 1:00pm
10/10/2013 1:00 PM


The Riverhead Town Board is planning to adopt most of a proposal that would require 50-foot vegetative buffers between large commercial projects and homes. They also plan to adopt a proposal to require house rentals to be at least 29 days in order to prevent so-called weekend “party houses” in town.

Those issues were discussed at Thursday’s Town Board work session.

The buffer proposal relates to properties in several zones, and the board intends to adopt it in every zone but the Industrial C zone, where Councilwoman Jodi Giglio has raised some concerns.

To find out what else was discussed at the work session, click below to read reporter Tim Gannon’s blog from the meeting:


October 10, 2013 – Agenda by Riverhead News-Review

10/03/13 9:45am
10/03/2013 9:45 AM

liveblogRiverhead Town’s independent internal audit has revealed that the town saved some $900,000 more than it expected when it budgeted for 2012.

(The News-Review reported live from the meeting; click below to see what else happened.)

But the town’s fund balance, or reserves, still dropped by $1.7 million that year, according to the findings.

The town had budgeted to use $2.6 million in fund balance.

“The trend is not good,” Jack Orben, a retired investment banker now serving on the audit committee, said during a presentation of the audit’s findings before the Town Board on Thursday.

Among the chief reasons listed for the $900,000 difference, was that benefit payments to town employees were less expensive than anticipated.

Though it was good the town lost less money than it had expected, the losses overall are still worrisome.

Problems could prove to be “catastrophic” if the town keeps depleting its fund balance, the auditors told the board.

The audit committee members agreed that the town’s landfill debt — about $4 million per year until 2023 — was the primary cause of the town’s financial issues. In recent years the town has had to dip into its reserves to reduce the impact of accumulated debt on taxpayers to avoid a tax spike.

Supervisor Sean Walter said the town needs to sell land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton next year or face that significant tax increase to up the town’s revenues.

“Next year is the year of reckoning,” he said, adding that the town is looking into taking out mortgages against unsold EPCAL land as a last resort. Mr. Walter blamed previous administrations for paying the minimum amount on the town’s debt and running up costs “like a credit card.”

The audit also revealed five control deficiencies related to the town’s financial statements, four less than last year’s audit. Of those deficiencies one was a “material weakness” — the most serious type of deficiency. That weakness, related to the town’s aging software, was also identified on last year’s audit.

Earlier this year, town officials approved the installation of new switches to the town’s hardware to help solve that problem.

Three remaining “significant deficiencies” — the second most serious offense — were related to the town’s Federal Emergency Management Agency project on Horton Avenue, which ran over costs by about $2 million this year and is now on hold, according to a previous News-Review report.

Still, auditors praised the town’s work to cut back on deficiencies.

“We’re pecking off what we can as we can,” said town accounting chief Bill Rothaar.

Check below to see the full recap of the work session:


09/26/13 9:50am
09/26/2013 9:50 AM


The Riverhead Town Board discussed at its work session this morning a Community Benefit Use District that has been proposed in connection with First Baptist Church’s planned Community Life Center.

The board also considered using an agency called the Long Island Dispute Resolution Center.

An application by Peconic Propane in Calverton was also up for review by the board.

The public work session started at 10 a.m.

News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live.

Click below to see what happened.


September 26, 2013 – Agenda(2) by Riverhead News-Review

09/21/13 12:50pm
09/21/2013 12:50 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Riverhead running back/linebacker Raheem Brown leads the Blue Waves against East Islip today.

Riverhead (1-0) vs. East Islip (1-0)

Division II

East Islip High School

The Riverhead Blue Waves travel to East Islip this afternoon to face the preseason No. 1 seed in Division II. The Redmen opened the season with a 30-7 win over Walt Whitman.

Riverhead won against North Babylon 35-6 in a rematch of last year’s county championship.

Both teams had extended time to prepare for this game after starting the season on a Thursday.

To follow the action from today’s game, click on the live blog below:

09/19/13 12:00pm
09/19/2013 12:00 PM


The Suffolk County Department of Public Works plans to dredge five creeks in Riverhead Town, weather depending, but it also wants the town to pay the overtime costs for these jobs, which is estimated at about $11,300.

Gil Anderson, the public works commissioner, discussed the plans with the Riverhead Town Board at its work session Thursday. He said the department has 23 dredging jobs countywide and an approximately 107-day window to complete them. That will require workers in double-shifts working seven days a week, he said. Because of environmental restrictions pertaining to winter fluke, the dredging must be done within that period.

Mr. Anderson said the proposed dredging spots are: Meetinghouse Creek in Aquebogue, East Creek in South Jamesport, Hawks Creek in Jamesport (near Great Peconic Bay Marina), Miamogue Creek in Jamesport and Cases Creek in Aquebogue (near Dreamer’s Cove). He said all of the dredging is weather dependent, and he could make no guarantees that all five spots would be dredged.

This is the first year the county has asked town to pay overtime costs on dredging projects, Mr. Anderson said, adding that this is due to financial constraints the county faces. Town officials informally, and reluctantly, agreed to pay the overtime, but were unsure where the money would come from.

Board members also discussed a proposed resolution to ban parking on roadsides during snow storms in which the supervisor declares a state of emergency. Highway Superintendent George Woodson said he would like for parking to be banned automatically during all snow storms so his trucks won’t hit them while they are plowing.

To find out what else was discussed at the work session, click below to read out live blog of the meeting.

September 19, 2013 – Agenda by Riverhead News-Review

09/17/13 6:50pm
09/17/2013 6:50 PM


The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday night approved by a vote of 5-0 a resolution denying Driftwood Family Farm’s application to excavate 415,000 cubic yards of sand from its 42-acre Calverton property.

Town officials had expressed concern that it could set a precedent, leading to increased sand mining.

Before the vote, the farmer and property owner, Steve Mezynieski, took to the podium only to say he appreciated the amount of time the town put into reviewing his application.

While casting his vote, Councilman James Wooten said he would like to find a way to help Mr. Mezynieski establish a working farm at the property, which is just west of the FedEx building along Route 25 in Calverton, without taking so much sand.

Councilman John Dunleavy, who once favored allowing the excavation permit, agreed.

There were also five public hearings scheduled.

One hearing in particular, on a proposal designed to prevent people from renting houses for weekend parties, drew the most noise from members of the public.

It was also learned from town staffers that the Riverhead Republican Committee , which was holding its reorganizational meeting at the same time at Polish Hall, had elected Mason Haas as chairman, as had been expected. Mr. Haas is a town tax assessor.

Vic Prusinowski, a former councilman and current owner of Cody’s BBQ downtown, was elected vice chairman. Tammy Robinkoff was voted as treasurer and Tracy Stark James, the executive director of the town Industrial Development Agency, was voted in as secretary.

The Town Board meeting started at 7 p.m. and News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live.

Click on the blog box below to see what transpired.

September 17, 2013 – Agenda by Riverhead News-Review

September 17, 2013 – Packet by Riverhead News-Review

09/12/13 1:00pm
09/12/2013 1:00 PM


Riverhead Town Board members plan to once again submit a resolution to deny Driftwood Family Farm’s application to export 415,160 cubic yards of material from its 42-acre property on Main Road in Calverton.

The board had planned to do so at its Sept. 4 meeting, but held off on voting after the applicant submitted a new letter from the State Agriculture and Markets department indicating that the property is considered agricultural. But the denial resolution, slightly revised, was discussed again during the board’s work session Thursday. Board members discussed resolutions for Tuesday’s regular meeting, where they plan to submit the new resolution.

Councilman John Dunleavy, who had supported Driftwood’s plans, now says he plans to vote against it.

The board also discussed a resolution to remove several pages of town-owned property from their “fixed asset records.”

Among the items on the list are a 1987 Chevy van, a 2002 GEM electric car, three tasers from the police department and several computer printers, monitors and mice. Officials say they can’t find these items, and they were probably discarded by department heads in the past without properly documenting that they were discarded.

To see what else was discussed at the work session, click below to follow reporter Tim Gannon’s blog of the meeting.