03/28/13 12:30pm
03/28/2013 12:30 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO |  Nicholas Latasso (left) and Bert Roner at a Thursday morning arraignment.

Two Riverhead Town residents were arraigned on trespassing, stolen property and drug charges Thursday morning after they were caught with stolen copper telephone cables from Orient Point County Park in Orient Wednesday afternoon, Southold Town police said.

Bert Roner, 35, of Flanders and Nicholas Latasso, 33, of Riverhead pleaded not guilty to several misdemeanor charges stemming from their arrest.

The men were caught after cops received a tip from Plum Island security about 4 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

Police stopped Mr. Roner as he was driving a black 2004 Ford Suburban in the parking lot of the Cross Island Ferry about 4 p.m. while investigating a possible larceny, according to a criminal complaint filed in Southold Town Justice Court.

Officers noticed Mr. Roner’s eyes were “red and glassy” and he failed roadside sobriety tests at the scene, according to the complaint.

Police discovered Mr. Roner and his passenger, Mr. Latasso, had “several lengths of plastic encased copper telephone feeder cable” belonging to Verizon, according to the complaint. Mr. Latasso also had a small white envelope containing a white powdery substance that tested positive for heroin, a police officer reported.

The men admitted they had trespassed at the Orient Point County Park, according to a criminal complaint.

Both Mr. Roner and Mr. Latasso were charged with third-degree criminal trespassing and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, court officials said.

Mr. Roner was also charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs while Mr. Latasso faces a seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charge.

Mr. Roner had previously been arrested for stealing copper from a business in Mattituck in July 2010, according to a published report. He served 90 days in jail in connection with that incident, records show.

He was then arrested last March after he was found in possession of a controlled substance during a probation visit, according to a News-Review report.

Bail for both men was set at $1,500 cash or $7,500 bond. They are due back in Southold court next Friday.


01/19/13 5:10pm
01/19/2013 5:10 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO  |  Nir Silva of Hampton Bays (from left), Virginia Lemmers and Nina Keller, both of South Jamesport, sort through the donated Items in Ms. DeVito's bedroom Saturday afternoon.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Nir Silva of Hampton Bays (from left), Virginia Lemmers and Nina Keller, both of South Jamesport, sort through the donated Items in Ms. DeVito’s bedroom Saturday afternoon.

Angela DeVito’s bedroom overflowed with bags full of jackets, coats, sweaters, scarfs and gloves Saturday afternoon.

Ms. DeVito hosted a Coats for the Community event at her South Jamesport home along with volunteers Nir Silva of Hampton Bays, Nine Keller and Virginia Lemmers, both of South Jamesport.

Ms. DeVito has been participating in the National Day of Service since in 2008 in Southold Town, but this was her first year hosting an event at her home.

“I think the response from the community has been tremendous,” Ms. DeVito said. “I’m very encouraged to know that so many people care about others who are less fortunate than them.”

The volunteers began sorting the items into piles for children, women and men so they can be delivered this week to First Baptist Church and Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead.

Volunteer Nina Keller, 15, who was doing community service for St. Anthony’s High School, was touched by the event.

“This even has more meaning after Sandy because so many people are still being affected,” she said.


01/04/13 8:00am
01/04/2013 8:00 AM
Jamesport-South Jamesport, Save Main Road, Georgette Keller, People of the Year

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Georgette Keller, president of the Jamesport Civic Association and a leader of ‘Save Main Road.’

While many people move to the North Fork for its rural character, most just sit back and enjoy the pastoral elements — come what may.

Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association president Georgette Keller is one of the few people to take up arms, so to speak, and fight to maintain her communities the way they are.

For spearheading preservation efforts and creating grassroots campaigns to deter overdevelopment, Ms. Keller is the Riverhead News-Review Civic Person of the Year.

Angela DeVito, recording secretary and a former president of the civic association, said Ms. Keller first joined the organization in 2003 out of concern about proposed waterfront development. A few years later, Ms. Keller and Richard Wines succeeded in creating a foundation to preserve the historic Jamesport Meeting House on Main Road, a North Fork landmark.

“We were impressed by her knowledge of zoning laws,” Ms. DeVito recalled of that first meeting with Ms. Keller. “She started talking about the need for historic preservation and the importance of our way of life.”

Ms. Keller is a reading specialist in the Riverhead School District and has studied history and architecture. The former paralegal moved from Amityville to Jamesport about 14 years ago with her husband, Robert, a retired Long Island Rail Road worker and North Fork native. The couple has two daughters, Nina, 15, and Grace, 16.

Earlier this year, Ms. Keller helped launch the “Save Main Road” campaign, a grassroots effort organizers claim is needed to maintain Jamesport’s rural character.

One major development project Save Main Road has dug in against is Jamesport Development LLC’s plan to build a 42,000-square-foot shopping center, called the Village at Jamesport, next to the Elbow Room restaurant. The Town Board last year approved two special use permits for the project, one allowing professional offices totaling 17,000 square feet and the other allowing two bistros as big as 8,000 square feet each.

Members of the Save Main Road group kicked off a campaign to raise money for legal action challenging the town’s approval of the permits and have since filed suit. The group is awaiting the judge’s ruling on motions from the town and developers to dismiss its suit.

The group also successfully pressured the YMCA to look for another location after Y officials had proposed to build a facility on Main Road in Aquebogue.

Ms. DeVito said the Save Main Road campaign has been an uphill battle in the midst of recent “civic bashing” that’s come from various officials, but that makes Ms. Keller’s dedication to the cause that much more admirable.

“She’s an amazing friend and person,” Ms. DeVito said.

Ms. Keller and other civic members have most recently been working with the state to designate Main Road, from County Route 105 to the Southold Town line in Laurel, as a historic corridor.


09/27/12 4:00pm
09/27/2012 4:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Supervisor Sean Walter (left), Councilman George Gabrielsen (above) and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio celebrated the opening of the new Miamogue Point Park Wednesday morning with neighborhood children.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter cut the ribbon with the help of neighborhood children Wednesday morning to officially celebrate the opening of Miamogue Point Park in South Jamesport.

Mr. Walter gave his thanks to the New York State Parks Department for the $350,000 grant which was used to build the neighborhood pocket park. The money fell short and the town had to kick in $20,000 to get the park finished. He also thanked the Engineering Department, Community Development Agency and Building and Grounds Department for their help in maintaining it.

“Without all the players coming together this wouldn’t have happened,” Mr. Walter said.

Councilman George Gabrielsen said that an official sign will be going up soon with “Miamogue Point Park,” which is a Native American word that translates to “a gathering place of fishermen.” He said that he hopes it will become a “gathering place of the community.”

09/25/12 5:00pm
09/25/2012 5:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Miamogue Point Park will be officially dedicated Wednesday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially dedicate Miamogue Point Park in South Jamesport will take place Wednesday morning.

The event, featuring Riverhead Town Board members, town employees and community members, will begin at 10:15 a.m. at the new park on South Jamesport Avenue.

The town acquired and developed the 2.31-acre Miamogue Point property by using Community Preservation Fund money and a $350,000 grant from the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“This new park will be forever preserved and will now provide open space, a new playground and valuable beach access,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said in a press release.

01/18/12 3:00am
01/18/2012 3:00 AM

First Parish Church, UCC is continuing to collect food for our local food pantries. They need canned, jarred and boxed goods. Those who would like to help out are asked to drop off their donations at the church on Sundays between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Baskets and/or boxes will be set up inside the foyer located at the east side entrance of the church to collect your goods. Please give what you can during these months and help fill the pantries in our community. Tell a friend and pass the word around. For more information, call Pastor Dianne Rodriguez at 516-673-1231 or email her at blackswan57@aol.com.

As I mentioned last week, the “Rockin’ for the Homeless” fundraiser will take place Saturday, Jan. 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Polish Hall in Riverhead. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Sponsored by John’s Place Mattituck the event will feature Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, Who Are Those Guys, Rattlesnake Dawn and Boot Scoot Boogie. WLNG’s Lisa Dabrowski will emcee. Tickets are $25 per person through Jan. 27, $35 at the door, and can be purchased at Barth’s Pharmacy in both Riverhead and Mattituck, Polish Hall and the Mattituck Presbyterian Church office. For tickets and more information, call 298-4145, ext. 2, or visit rockinforthehomeless.org. This is a great way to be a good neighbor.

Last week there was a beautiful article in the News-Review about the difficulties faced by parents of medically fragile children. The article featured Angela’s House, an organization that provides two smaller houses on Long Island specially designed with 24-hour nursing care to accommodate the children’s complex medical and physical needs. Angela’s House also facilitates provisions for families like ours who have medically fragile kids living at home. Without their support we would not be able to provide for Johanna’s special needs in our home.

If you haven’t read the article from last week, please do so today. Also, please consider making a donation at angelashouse.org, by mail to Angela’s House, P.O. Box 5052, Hauppauge, NY 11788, call Bob Policastro at 631-979-2620 or email BPolicastro@angelashouse.org. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.

My college kids are back to school — two in Ohio and one in Gaming, Austria. MaryAngela is having the adventure of a lifetime studying abroad for the semester. We wish them well and can’t wait to see them in May!

11/03/11 2:00am
11/03/2011 2:00 AM

Owners: The Patchell family

Year established: 2002

Location: 10 Front St., South Jamesport

Phone: 631-722-2659

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Hours: Lunch Friday-Sunday, noon-closing; dinner Tuesday -Saturday, 4:30 p.m.-closing
Website: northforkmotels.com

Just steps from a bay beach, the Bayview Inn and Restaurant has offered fresh local produce, seafood and wines since 2002. The restaurant features a cozy dining room with a fireplace, a bar with a pub style menu, and seasonal outdoor dining on the wraparound porch and deck.

Lunch appetizers include fresh lump crab cake with roasted garlic remoulade, garnished with black bean and roasted corn salsa; oysters or clams on the half shell; or mussels Posillipo, steamed with garlic, white wine, herb and tomato broth. Among several salad choices is one of farm-fresh beets and beet greens dressed with tangy raspberry vinaigrette and crumbled goat cheese .

Lunch entrees include a cheeseburger cooked to order with a choice of mild cheddar, gorgonzola or swiss cheese, topped with bacon, sauteed shiitake mushrooms or onions, and grilled shrimp BLT on multigrain bread with herb mayonnaise and french fries.

Chef Tom Lopez’ dinner menu features such entrees as grilled peppercorn encrusted rib eye steak with roasted shallots, crumbled gorgonzola and potato; local Crescent Farm boneless duck with raspberries, bigarade sauce and wild rice; or classic shrimp scampi sauteed in garlic, white wine and fresh lemon, served with rice timbale.

Bayview Inn and Restaurant is open year round and takes reservations for holiday parties and special events. There is also a menu just for kids.

06/24/11 8:30am
06/24/2011 8:30 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The house on Green Street in South Jamesport.

A new house under construction in South Jamesport has drawn the ire of some neighbors, who are saying it’s too big and out of character with the neighborhood and that it’s built on a higher grade than other area houses and will cause rainwater to flood onto their properties.

They also question how the town even allowed it to be built.

“His cesspools are going to be at the same level as his neighbor’s windows,” said neighbor Larry Simms, who owns a home across the street. “And an area that gets flooded already is going to get flooded even more because of this.”

Mr. Simms said the home covers 30 percent of the lot, and code only permits 15 percent coverage in this area.

The Jamesport-South Jamesport Civic Association has also begun looking into the issue, according to its president, Georgette Keller.

“We’ve heard some grumblings about it,” she said. The issue was brought to their attention by Mr. Simms, she said.

But the owner of the house says he has all the necessary permits, that other neighbors have complimented him on the house and that it’s being built according to “green” standards and will retain rainwater on its property.

The house is located on Green Street, across from Dunlookin Lane, and is owned by Glen Ravn of Rockville Centre, who purchased it in late 2010 and says he plans to live in it himself. Construction began shortly after he bought the land.

The lot in question was originally part of a 32,000-square-foot parcel that was granted a subdivision in 2003 by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which carved it into two 16,000-square-foot lots.

Zoning in the area is RB40, which requires a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet, or approximately one acre. But the ZBA granted the subdivision in 2003, shortly before the Town Board was set to approve a new Master Plan that called for new zoning in 2004. The prior zoning called for minimum lot sizes of 20,000 square feet.

While subdivisions are normally the jurisdiction of the Planning Board, the applicant at the time, Ashley Homes of LI, had applied for an area variance from the ZBA to allow the smaller lots, and was approved. In 2005, the ZBA also granted a one-year extension of that variance.

When Ashley Homes submitted a subdivision application to the Planning Board in 2005, it was rejected on the grounds that it didn’t comply with the new zoning. Ashley Homes took the Planning Board to court on that ruling, and was successful in both in state Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals, which ruled that the Planning Board could not overrule the ZBA’s verdict.
The 2007 Court of Appeals ruling did point out, however, that the ZBA approval had expired, although it said there was nothing in the ruling prohibiting the applicant from applying for a further extension.

On Dec. 14, 2010, the town building department sent a letter to Mr. Ravn saying he needed to apply for an extension of the ZBA approval.

Mr. Ravn said in an interview this week that he didn’t recall seeing that letter, but that even so, he doesn’t believe he needs an extension.

“I already have a building permit. I have a letter from the town engineer confirming that this a separate lot. I’ve got approvals from the health department,” he said.

“Every agency has already recognized this as approved and taken the fees. I’ve even paid the Pine Barrens tax,” he said, referring to the 2 percent tax on real estate transfers for land preservation.

Ashley Homes, which still owns the other 16,000-square-foot lot that resulted from the subdivision.

But Ashley Homes president Ashok Agrawal told the News-Review he doesn’t want Mr. Ravn using the approvals he received, adding that the house currently being built doesn’t conform to the plans for which he had previously received a building permit. Mr. Agrawal sent a letter to the building department in December asking that Mr. Ravn not be allowed to his permit. The building department wrote back, saying it was too late, because construction had already started.

“The permit is in my name, but I’m not building, so I want it discontinued,” Mr. Agrawal said in an interview Tuesday. “I used my insurance to get this permit, and I don’t want to be held responsible if something goes wrong.”

He said he has already received a letter from the building department telling him to install a fence around the property, even though it’s no longer his property.

Mr. Agrawal said the grade on the property is higher than his plans called for, and the building is taller than zoning allows.
Mr. Ravn told the News-Review that the building and the grade of the land are required to be at the heights at which he’s building them because “of a new law in which I must be above the 100-year flood plain.”

Mr. Ravn said the house is designed to capture rainwater before it runs into the street.

“I have to take all the water off the roof and put it into dry wells,” he said. “Most of them time when you have runoff problems, it’s from water running off the property, but the biggest footprint here is the house itself, which is designed to capture rainwater and prevent it from going into the street.”

Mr. Ravn said he is an engineer and builds “green” houses himself.

Riverhead Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz said his office is investigating the complaints brought by Mr. Simms, but he couldn’t comment on the case since it’s under investigation. He did say, however, that it does have a building permit and, with regard to the ZBA approval, that approvals generally run with the land, not the landowner.

Mr. Simms said Mr. Kozakiewicz has been investigating the case for more than six weeks.

“What’s taking him so long?” he asked a reporter. “And why don’t they shut down the construction while they’re investigating? Each day the structure is closer to completion it will be harder to make them undo it if something is built illegally. I’ve seen too many compromises in our community, in which rules are broken, mistakes are discovered too late and project owners pay a nominal fine and get exactly what they wanted.”

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said he was not familiar enough with the case to comment.