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09/03/15 2:57pm
09/03/2015 2:57 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |  Mason Haas in his office in Town Hall.

After hearing oral arguments Thursday afternoon, a Suffolk County Supreme Court judge deferred ruling on the lawsuit filed by tax assessor Mason Haas against the Town of Riverhead, allowing him to remain in his elected position as the judge reviews the case.

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06/01/15 3:09pm
06/01/2015 3:09 PM
Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman James Wooten smiled and posed for photos after a meeting in 2011. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman James Wooten smiled and posed for photos after a meeting in 2011. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

After they both lost their party’s nomination for re-election last week, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman Jim Wooten intend to run as a pair in primaries this fall against the party favorites.

Mr. Walter, running for his fourth two-year term in office, lost by half a gubernatorial vote to party-nominee Jodi Giglio, and said on Friday he hopes to get the nomination of the Independence and Conservative parties.

Instead of the incumbent councilman Mr. Wooten, the GOP committee went with retired police officers Tim Hubbard and Bob Peeker to fill Mr. Wooten’s seat, as well as the one currently belonging to Councilman George Gabrielsen, who is not running for re-election.

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05/13/14 5:42pm
05/13/2014 5:42 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO  |  Riverhead Republicans celebrate their victorious sweep Election night in downtown Riverhead. From left: committee chairman Mason Haas, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman John Dunleavy.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Republicans celebrate their victorious sweep Election night in downtown Riverhead. From left: committee chairman Mason Haas, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman John Dunleavy.

Riverhead Republican Committee chairman Mason Haas has retained legal counsel and is asking WRIV 1390 radio to save a copy of an interview Republican Town Supervisor Sean Walter did with the station Friday for “possible litigation” against Mr. Walter, according to Mr. Haas and WRIV general manager Bruce Tria. (more…)

03/27/14 5:15pm
03/27/2014 5:15 PM
Councilman John Dunleavy (left) and Sean Walter at a recent work session. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Councilman John Dunleavy (left) and Sean Walter at a recent work session. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

“This board tore each other apart for the last two years on petty issues. And the lack of caucuses allowed that to happen.”

That’s how Riverhead Republican committee leader Mason Haas explained why he believes Riverhead Town Board members, all Republicans, need to meet in twice-monthly political caucus meetings — which are closed to the public.

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10/22/13 5:56pm
10/22/2013 5:56 PM
COURTESY PHOTO | Supervisor candidate Angela DeVito (center) and other Democratic town candidates and supporters at the Costo site Tuesday morning.

COURTESY PHOTO | Supervisor candidate Angela DeVito (center) and other Democratic town candidates and supporters at the Costo site Tuesday morning.

A week after the Democratic candidates for Riverhead Town Board held a press conference criticizing the incumbent Republican board members on downtown issues, they held a press conference criticizing the Republicans over Route 58 issues.

Democrats Angela DeVito, Millie Thomas and Bill Bianchi called development on Route 58 “an economic, environmental and quality-of-life disaster,” and said the road should be renamed Sean Walter Way, after the incumbent supervisor, who is being challenged by Ms. DeVito.

The press conference was held outside Millbrook Community, a manufactured home park off Mill Road that abuts the Shops at Riverhead development, which will have a Costco Wholesale as its anchor store. The Shops at Riverhead developers were allowed by the town to clear-cut 41 acres right up to the property lines of the neighboring Millbook and Foxwood Village communities.

“Riverhead is the poorest town on the East End, with the highest debt and the taxes that just keep going up year after year,” Ms. DeVito said. “With this amount of commercial development, you’d think there would be a sufficient tax base to prevent the huge tax hike Walter now threatens. Mismanagement has become Walter’s ‘way of doing business.”

“Didn’t they already have this press conference?” Mr. Walter later responded in an interview, noting the Democratic candidates protested the Shops at Riverhead development just three weeks ago, joining neighoring residents for a rally.

Mr. Walter pointed out that just last week the Town Board adopted a code amendment that will fix the problems at The Shops at Riverhead by requiring a 50-foot natural buffer be planted between the development and neighboring homes. And, he said, the town’s budget problems were caused by the previous Democratic administration, during which a landfill reclamation project failed. The town is still paying more than $4 million per year in debt service from that project.

The Shops at Riverhead site plan, which called for the clear cutting of all vegetation, was approved by the town Planning Board last year, but the actual clearing permit was issued by the Town Board.

“I think the majority of the residents are going to be happy with the size and the scope of the berm,” Mr. Walter said. “The issue is over.”

In addition to Mr. Walter, the Republicans are running incumbents Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy for council.

Mr. Walter said “there’s obviously things that happened that the town has had to correct,” concerning the clear cutting. “We saw the problem, we corrected the problem, and now it’s time to move forward. It appears to me that Ms. DeVito really has nothing to say, and now she just keeps saying the same thing over and over.”

Ms. DeVito said she believes there’s “clear evidence that Riverhead residents are fed up with Sean Walter and his cronies. Last year he lost his bid for election to the Suffolk County Legislature [to Al Krupski] by a two-to-one margin.

“He didn’t even win his home district of Wading River.”

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