05/21/15 7:46am
05/21/2015 7:46 AM
URT owner John Catsimitedes

URT owner John Catsimitedes

United Riverhead Terminal owner John Catsimatidis and vice chair Nelson Happy said there are several large projects they are considering in Riverhead Town, but they also said “a pro business environment is very helpful” for those projects to move forward. (more…)

04/15/15 1:21pm
04/15/2015 1:21 PM
Who owns this sign?If you ask a local community group or a oil terminal, they'll both say they do. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Who owns this sign? If you ask a local community group or an oil terminal, they’ll both say they do. (Credit: Paul Squire)

The dispute between Northville’s community association and the local oil terminal over its proposed expansion plans has spilled over into a strange new battleground: a tiny plot of land on the side of Sound Shore Road containing a wooden sign.

Both sides claim ownership of the sign, saying the other appropriated it to post their own “spin” on the expansion project.

The roughly three-foot-by-six-foot sign — located next to United Riverhead Terminal’s headquarters — had been used for more than 20 years by the Northville Beach Community Association, even featuring its name painted on the sign.

But on Monday the sign was gone. By Tuesday, the sign was back, but the community association’s name was gone.

In its place was a new message from the terminal, touting the company’s tax contributions and job creation.

“It’s small potatoes but this aggravates me,” said Dave Gruner, a member of the community association who had been in charge of changing the messages on the sign for years. “The way I look at it, they have stolen our sign.”

But URT general manager Scott Kamm said the sign was always owned by the terminal, which he said allowed the community association to post its messages.

According to the Riverhead Town building department, a permit was issued in 1972 for a sign on the north side of Sound Shore Road, which was submitted by “Northville Industries Corp. Riverhead Terminal.” However, no sign permit exists for the property to the south where the disputed sign is now, a town employee said.

It was unclear whether the original sign permit to the north was for this sign or another unrelated one.

Mr. Kamm said he had the sign changed because he objected to messages written on it directing residents to the community association’s website, which calls the expansion “unnecessary.”

URT needs a special permit to construct the expansion, which it says would add six new jobs and support local families and businesses. But neighbors, led by the civic association, have come out in force against the project.

In two public hearings each lasting hours, residents railed against the project. The Riverhead Town Board hasn’t made an official determination on the special permit yet, but several board members said last month they were convinced by public opinion to deny the project.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kamm claimed the civic association — which was formed 50 years ago specifically to oppose the construction of the original terminal — put messages on the board urging residents to oppose the proposed expansion.

That’s why the sign was taken down and replaced with a more corporate-friendly version, he said.

“We’re trying to put a positive message out to the community,” Mr. Kamm said. “A positive spin.”

But civic association president Neil Krupnick denied the claim that the community association posted negative messages, and also said the terminal doesn’t own the sign in the first place.

Mr. Krupnick said the sign was handed over to the civic association as a “good neighbor” gesture in 1993 by then-owners Tosco. It was maintained by the terminals owners since and was even repainted by United years ago.

The sign as it appeared before this week. An inset shows the minutes from the meeting in which community members say the sign was handed over to them. (credit: courtesy photos)

The sign as it appeared before this week. An inset shows the minutes from the meeting in which community members say the sign was handed over to them. (credit: courtesy photos)

“They had two options: ask us to change our message or tell us to pick up the sign,” Mr. Krupnick said. “They did the third option and took it … It’s rude. It’s petty. It’s childish.”

Mr. Krupnick said the sign now gives the appearance that the civic association has changed its position on the project.

“Anybody who doesn’t know they took over the sign might think, ‘Did NBCA sell out to United?’ ” he said.

Minutes from a civic association meeting state that the sign — formerly used by the terminal — was given as a gift.

Mr. Kamm says those meeting minutes are inaccurate; the sign was always owned by the terminal, he said.

“It’s on United property,” he said. “Always have been. We’ve always maintained it. We’ve always painted it.”

Both Mr. Kamm and Mr. Krupnick say their organizations are willing to talk to the other’s. So far, neither has gotten through.

“We’ve always had a great relationship,” Mr. Kamm said. “Unfortunately the new president has turned things around over this new gasoline project.”

“They’ve not reached out to us at all,” Mr. Krupnick said.

psquire@timesreview.com

03/18/15 12:05pm
03/18/2015 12:05 PM
Opponents of the Riverhead Terminal expansion on Sound Shore Road Monday afternoon (from left): Northville Beach Civic Association president Neil Krupnick, Ann Weiser, Greg Genovese of the Highlands Club community, John Cullen and Dave Gruner. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Opponents of the Riverhead Terminal expansion on Sound Shore Road Monday afternoon (from left): Northville Beach Civic Association president Neil Krupnick, Ann Weiser, Greg Genovese of the Highlands Club community, John Cullen and Dave Gruner. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Safety. Traffic. The environment.

Residents of the Northville area of Riverhead and beyond have been concerned about all three ever since United Riverhead Terminal Inc. first appeared before the Riverhead Town Board in September with plans to expand its sprawling petroleum storage facility alongside Long Island Sound.

Over the last few months, some have harkened back more than 50 years, to the time when people then living in neighboring Northville Beach fought but failed to stop construction of the massive string of tanks that punctuates the otherwise wooded and rural landscape.  (more…)

03/16/15 6:00am
03/16/2015 6:00 AM

To the Editor:

The United Riverhead Terminal, or URT, on Sound Shore Road in Northville stores over 160 million gallons of heating oil.  It is a “pre-existing, non-conforming use,” meaning that the town has upgraded the zoning for this area and, according to town code, they may continue to exist with the same use. However, the URT is now asking for an expansion of their facility for the mixing and storage of gasoline.

The proposed “special permit” application should be denied for a number of important reasons. (more…)

12/10/14 5:36pm
12/10/2014 5:36 PM
United Riverhead Terminal in Northville plans to convert two of the existing petroleum tanks on its property to gasoline storage tanks. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

United Riverhead Terminal in Northville plans to convert two of the existing petroleum tanks on its property to gasoline storage tanks. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

United Riverhead Terminal is requesting a two-month adjournment of the public hearing on its proposal to convert two tanks at its Northville property from fuel oil storage to gasoline storage.

(more…)

11/15/14 12:00pm
11/15/2014 12:00 PM
GREENLOGIC COURTESY FILE PHOTO  |  A ground-mounted solar array similar to one that was installed on Gabrielsen Farms' Aquebogue greenhouse.

GREENLOGIC COURTESY FILE PHOTO | A ground-mounted solar array similar to one that was installed on Gabrielsen Farms’ Aquebogue greenhouse.

The owners of a Northville farm will have to wait until next month to find out if they’ll get the variance needed to erect solar panels on site which would be used to sell energy back to power provider PESG-LI.

At Thursday night’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, it appeared as though the board was poised to reject the variance request from the business, Plant Connection, which was first made last month. However after further consideration, the board put the vote on hold and adjourned the vote until Dec. 11. (more…)