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.

(more…)

04/08/15 8:00am
04/08/2015 8:00 AM
Eugene Lafurno's home two years ago in Baiting Hollow. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Eugene Lafurno’s home two years ago in Baiting Hollow. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Times up for “The Epiphany.”

Eugene Lafurno of Baiting Hollow has been building what town officials call a third and fourth story onto his Founders Path home for several years, and town officials say it’s unsafe and was built without proper permits.

On Tuesday, the Riverhead Town Board approved a resolution to have the town engineering department remove the structure and is expected to charge Mr. Lafurno with demolition costs.

(more…)

04/07/15 2:00pm
04/07/2015 2:00 PM

The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday approved a new five-year contract with the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance corps that, for the first time, will allow the corps to begin billing the insurance companies of people involved in automobile accidents that require ambulance service.

Town officials have said the move can bring in about $400,000 per year  in revenue.

The ambulance corps will still need to hire a billing company, and to obtain computer hardware and software and training in how to use it, according to RVA board of directors member Ron Rowe. The corps also will need an office and a secure location to store records, he said.

Also Tuesday:

• The Town Board approved Sonoma Grill’s application to have a live music at the new restaurant it plans at the site of the former Riverhead Project.

• Hired an outside law firm, McGiff Halverson LLP of Patchouge, to handle the town’s lawsuit against Gershow Recycling.

• Approved a $10,000 settlement with the owners of the BJ’s/Kmart shopping center for illegally clearing trees along Route 58.

• Ordered the town engineering department to being removing a cupola built on a Baiting Hollow home owned by Eugene Lafurno that the town maintains is too tall and not safe.

To read what else happened at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, click below to read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting, and scroll down for the full meeting agenda and resolution packet.

 

 

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board 04-07-2015

April_7,_2015_-_Agenda by Timesreview

April_7,_2015_-_Packet by Timesreview

04/02/15 10:00am
04/02/2015 10:00 AM

liveblog

 

The Riverhead Town Board discussed a plan to double the size of a proposed energy park at the Enterprise Park at Calverton and to prepare a new request for proposals from energy companies during Thursday’s work session.

The board has already designated a 90-acre site at the southwest portion of the property, inside the inactive western runway, for an energy park that would attract solar and other types of energy providers and the Long Island Power Authority has selected Hecate Energy to build a solar farm at EPCAL. LIPA is negotiating a power purchase agreement with Hecate Energy.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said there has been tremendous interest from other solar and energy companies to build at EPCAL, which is why the town is considering adding an additional 94 acres to the west of the western runway.

The town also can lease about 51 acres on the western runway for solar projects, he said.

Board members also discussed filling two vacancies on the Industrial Development Agency and whether the Town Board should issue a resolution urging the IDA to only give tax abatements at EPCAL and downtown.

To read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting, click below.

 

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 04-02-2015

03/26/15 10:00am
03/26/2015 10:00 AM
Solar panels being constructed on the east side of Edwards Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Solar panels being constructed on the east side of Edwards Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

With Edwards Avenue in Calverton soon to be blanketed by solar panels, the Riverhead Town Board, at its work session Thursday, discussed plans to require solar energy farms to pay full taxes, and plans to eliminate solar energy farms as a permitted use in the Industrial C zone, which covers everything east of the Stony Brook Incubator to Edwards Avenue, and everything on the west side of Edwards Avenue, south of Route 25.

“I’m not comfortable with Edwards Avenue being wall-to-wall solar,” Supervisor Sean Walter told the board.

Industrial C zoning would include at least one proposed solar panel farm, on the former Calverton Links golf course site., and possibly two others others, including one on or near the Calverton Industries sand mine on Route 25, and one further north on Edwards Avenue on the west side of the road, both of which were selected by LIPA, but not specifically identified publicly, as LIPA only gave a range of street numbers for the sites.

A 30,000-panel solar farm is under construction on 45 acres on the east side of Edwards Avenue, which is zoned Industrial A, where solar farms would continued to be permitted.

•The board also discussed a proposal to create a blighted property code in which properties would be assessed points for various violations – 30 points for rodent infestation, for instance – and any property with 100 points or more would be deemed blighted and face fines or up to $5,000.

The proposal did not appear to have support from a majority of board members in its current form.

• Board members also discussed proposal putting restrictions on how long and how dogs can be kept tethered outdoors, and a proposal to require dogs picked up by the town to be spayed before they can be returned to their owners.

•Also, the board discussed putting weight restrictions on Twomey Avenue in Calverton to keep large trucks from using the road.

To read what else was discussed at the work session, click below to read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s life blog of the meeting and scroll down for the meeting agenda.

Live Blog Riverhead Town Board work session 03-26-2015

 

March_26,_2015_-_Agenda by Timesreview

03/18/15 7:00pm
03/18/2015 7:00 PM
The Riverhead Town Board held a hearing Wednesday to discuss a Northville gas terminal proposal. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The crowd at Wednesday’s hearing for the proposed gas terminal in Northville. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Town Board appears poised to reject United Riverhead Terminals’ proposed expansion at its Sound Shore Road fuel tank farm following a nearly four-hour public hearing in which every speaker other than the applicant was opposed to the plan.

“You guys and girls changed my vote and I’m going to vote to deny this permit,” Councilman John Dunleavy told the standing-room only audience following the hearing, a move that got him around of applause.

“Three cheers for John. Hip hip hooray!” someone yelled from the audience.

“I think there is a consensus building on this board that is aligned with Councilman Dunleavy,” Supervisor Sean Walter told URT spokesman Vic Prusinowski. “You guys have a pretty uphill battle.”

“It comes down to who I represent,” Councilman Jim Wooten said after the meeting. “I think the public has been pretty clear. They made a very good argument.”

“After a presentation like that, I don’t know how anyone can support it,” Councilman George Gabrielsen said.

“I want to get all the answers first before I make a decision,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said, although she appeared to agree with Mr. Gabrielsen’s comments.

The Town Board is holding the hearing open for written comments until April 30 to allow URT to answer questions and comments made at the hearing.

URT is proposing to change two of the 20 oil storage tanks on the 286-acre Sound Shore Road property from fuel oil storage to gasoline storage, and to build two new 19,000 gallon tanks to store ethanol, which is blended with the gasoline. The two tanks proposed for gasoline storage are 2.8 million and 3.6 million gallons.

Mr. Walter said URT already has state approval to store gasoline and ethanol, but requires the special permit from the town to build the two new tanks.

Asked after the meeting what URT would do if the application is rejected, Mr. Prusinowski said that hasn’t really been discussed. He said they may be able to use an existing tank to store ethanol, or they may have the ethanol blended with the gasoline at another site.

Neighbors who spoke against the plan said the gasoline storage use constitutes a new use and since the property is zoned for residential uses, and the tank farm is allowed to stay because it pre-dates town zoning, the new use should not be allowed.

Chris Kent, an attorney representing the Northville Beach Civic Association, said the application should not be before the Town Board, but rather, should be before the zoning board of appeals since it seeks to allow a use not permitted by zoning.

Other speakers said the change to gasoline storage would result in an increase in large oil tanker trucks coming to and from the faciilty, and that the gasoline is far more flammable than fuel oil.

Scott Kamm, URT’s general manager, said the proposal would only result in an increase of 12 trucks per day. He said the number of trucks coming from the facility has dropped nearly 50 percent since 2009, although it increased from 2013 to 2014. He said the demand for fuel oil has been declining in recent years.

Angela DeVito, the president of the Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association, said that the decrease in demand for fuel oil will likely lead URT to convert other tanks to gasoline storage in the future.

Other speakers said the applicants should be required to do an environmental impact study on the proposal.

Mr. Walter said the town may require a limited environment study, and it may also seek to put weight limits on town roads like Twomey Avenue in Calverton, where large oil tankers have been using to get to and from URT.

(more…)

03/18/15 2:00pm
After several attacks in the downtown Riverhead area this year — most of which have targeted Hispanic males — the town will revive its dormant Anti-Bias Task Force, a group 'meant to be a proactive agency in promoting tolerance and understanding.' (Credit: Carrie Miller)

After several attacks in the downtown Riverhead area last year — most of which have targeted Hispanic males — the town will revive its dormant Anti-Bias Task Force. (Credit: Paul Squire, file)

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to officially restore Riverhead’s anti-bias task force at tonight’s meeting.

The task force was created in 1998, but had become dormant in recent years. Officials sought to re-establish it last year in the wake of a series of violent attacks on Hispanics in Riverhead.  (more…)