04/30/15 10:00am
04/30/2015 10:00 AM

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to discuss rebidding its residential garbage collection district, which has been in place since 1991.  The cost of the district, currently at $274 per year for a single-family home, was reduced drastically when the town rebid the district about three years ago.

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04/30/15 8:00am
The Second Street firehouse was obtained by Riverhead Town in 2011 in a land swap with the Riverhead Fire District. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

A brewery might not be possible in the former Second Street firehouse based on a proposal that microbreweries would need to be 1,000 feet from residential homes. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Riverhead already has three breweries — and more are said to be interested in coming here. Town officials want to help that growth along, but they also want to figure out where in town those breweries should be located. And, if they should be set back a ways from homes.

The Town Board discussed proposed zoning for microbreweries last Thursday in Town Hall.  (more…)

04/29/15 8:00am
04/29/2015 8:00 AM

The days of walking around the Country Fair or the Polish Town Fair with an open beer in your hand appear to be on the way out — a prospect some aren’t raising a glass to.

The Town Board appears to be on board with a plan that would limit beer sales to closed-space beer gardens at large public festivals, an effort they say would keep young people away from alcohol at the events.

Citing a statistic that 36 percent of Riverhead High School seniors who reported drinking alcohol in the past year said they did so at a public event, Riverhead Community Awareness Program proposed limiting the sale and consumption of alcohol at festivals to a designated area rather than letting people roam around the festival with the drink, as is currently allowed. It was a proposal that seems to have gone over well enough with the board.

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04/22/15 1:04pm
04/22/2015 1:04 PM
Councilman George Gabrielsen said between running a business and running for re-election, 'something had to go.' (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Councilman George Gabrielsen said between running a business and running for re-election, ‘something had to go.’ (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Incumbent Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen, whose term expires in November, announced by email Tuesday that due to work and family commitments, he will not run for re-election.

“With the obligations of our family farm operation and other new business commitments, I am unable to devote the time that the Town Council position requires and the residents of this town expect and deserve,” his email stated.  (more…)

04/21/15 7:00pm
04/21/2015 7:00 PM
Chip Bancroft, vice president of the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council

Chip Bancroft, vice president of the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council

The Vice President of the Suffolk County Fire Chiefs Council said his organization will file oversight complaints against Riverhead Town with the state Codes Division if the town doesn’t increase the number of fire marshals it has.

Chip Bancroft, the vice president of the county group, addressed the Town Board on the issue Tuesday night, saying that based on town fire marshal reports he received through a Freedom of Information Law request, the town’s fire marshals completed only 238 building inspections in 2014 out of a total of 1,829 commercial properties, or 13 percent, due to the high workload they have. They also investigated 22 structure fires, eight vehicle fires, six hazardous material reports, one carbon monoxide case and 61 other cases.

By law, all commercial properties must be inspected once a year.

If the oversight complaints are filed, the state will come down and start helping with inspections, for which they would charge the town a fee, and it could also issue fines, Mr. Bancroft said.

Riverhead Town currently has two full time fire marshals and one part timer.

The town cut one fire marshal position in 2011, a move that drew the ire of local fire departments.

Supervisor Sean Walter questioned the numbers Mr. Bancroft cited, even though Mr. Bancroft got those numbers from the town.

“I would love to show you what the fire marshal shows me as to what they have to inspect and, in fact, it’s nowhere near 1800,” Mr. Walter said.

The supervisor said the town has plans to hire a fire prevention inspector using money the town receives from false alarm fines, money that currently is made available to the individual fire departments.

The difference between a fire marshal and a fire prevention inspector, other than the fire marshal having a higher salary, is that the fire marshal can do more things, such as investigating a fire, issuing summons, investigating hazardous material incidents, reviewing site plan applications and inspecting commercial buildings for fire safety compliance, according to Mr. Bancroft.

The fire prevention inspector would primarily inspect commercial buildings for code compliance, but Mr. Walter says that’s where the problem is, plus the inspector could work on weekends when many special events take place.

“How many fire marshals do you think this town needs?” Mr. Walter asked Mr. Bancroft.
“At least two more,” Mr. Bancroft responded. He acknowledged, however, that the fire prevention inspector would help.

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