12/28/14 8:00am
12/28/2014 8:00 AM
Siris Barrios, community liaison for Renaissance Downtown Riverside Rediscovered in her office on Peconic Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Siris Barrios, community liaison for Renaissance Downtown Riverside Rediscovered in her office on Peconic Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

In late 2013, the Southampton Town Board hired a private firm as master developer to take the lead in revitalizing the downtrodden hamlet of Riverside. (more…)

12/01/14 3:21pm
12/01/2014 3:21 PM
Riverleigh Avenue intersects with the Riverside traffic circle on Flanders Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The Valero is located at the northern portion of the traffic circle. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

A man who was denied cigars because he didn’t have proof of his age was arrested after he then went outside and kicked the careful clerk’s car in retaliation, damaging the car, Southampton Town police said. (more…)

11/29/14 4:00pm
11/29/2014 4:00 PM
Flanders 7-Eleven

The 7-Eleven store in Flanders. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The 7-Eleven built in Flanders last spring is scheduled to open on Dec. 17, a spokeswoman for the convenience store chain has confirmed.

“It’s done, but we are waiting for sign permits before we can open,” said Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven’s director of corporate communications, about the store located near the Flanders Road and Cypress Avenue intersection.  (more…)

11/11/14 10:00am
11/11/2014 10:00 AM
Eric Wright_2

Eric Wright, right, speaks to residents in Riverside before hearing feedback at a Monday night Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Community Association meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

A wooden structure with a minimal incline and a few seating areas are some ideas residents said they liked about a proposed pedestrian bridge for the Peconic River.


08/29/14 7:00am
08/29/2014 7:00 AM
An abandoned gas station on Flanders Road just east of the Peconic Avenue circle. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

An abandoned gas station on Flanders Road just east of the Peconic Avenue circle. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Peconic Avenue has a new tenant, and locals should take notice.

Renaissance Downtowns has had a sign posted in its storefront for the past couple of months, but with a community liaison now on the ground and officially hired for the job, the for-profit company can officially get to work on charting a course for the future of Riverside.

Is it frustrating — and somewhat typical — to see another plan in the works for the beleaguered community, where making progress has for far too long been on the back burner for Southampton Town and Suffolk County leaders? Yes — but as the saying goes, nothing worth having ever came easy. And area residents have before them a great opportunity with a private company that’s financially invested in gathering public feedback — and crafting a vision for Riverside based on that information. Unlike with a government study, if the plan it ultimately develops isn’t executed, Renaissance Downtowns loses private money. Its motivations are financial, not political. That gives us hope.

However, it helps that political leaders are on board and supportive of the overall effort to lift up the area.

A public meeting will be held next month on a pedestrian bridge that could connect the hamlet with a burgeoning downtown Riverhead. A study has already been completed on the feasibility of a sewer treatment plant in Riverside, and the county seems on board to contribute funds to build one. This fall, voters townwide will go to the polls to determine if the hamlet — along with neighboring Flanders and Northampton — should get what we argue is a much-needed garbage district.

The missing link to realizing a long-term vision for Riverside is a cohesive effort from residents throughout the hamlet, not just a few politicians and civic leaders. While their support is vital, what’s paramount is feedback from those living and working there — and in downtown Riverhead — who will be most affected by long-term changes. They should stop by Renaissance Downtowns’ Peconic Avenue offices, give organizers five minutes if they drop by or, better yet, attend any upcoming meetings. Business mixers and community forums are in the works. Be there and let your thoughts be known.

08/28/14 8:00am
08/28/2014 8:00 AM
Siris Barrios, community liaison with Renaissance Downtowns, outside the company's office on Peconic Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Siris Barrios, community liaison with Renaissance Downtowns, outside the company’s office on Peconic Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Growing up in the 1980s and’90s in a racially divided part of Los Angeles, where drugs and gangs were prevalent, Siris Barrios remembers well the days of the 1992 L.A. riots and the civil unrest she saw.


07/26/14 10:00am
07/26/2014 10:00 AM
Garbage piled high on Oak Avenue in Flanders. (Credit: barbaraellen Koch)

Garbage piled high on Oak Avenue in Flanders. (Credit: barbaraellen Koch)

Just over two years ago, we called on Southampton Town to create a garbage district in Flanders, Riverside and Northampton. And now Southampton Town is calling on residents in the area to make the decision themselves(more…)

07/21/14 2:00pm
07/21/2014 2:00 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Refuse in woods along Oak Avenue in Flanders.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Refuse in woods along Oak Avenue in Flanders.

Having seen too much illegal dumping over the years in the hamlets of Flanders, Riverside and Northampton, a proposal to create a garbage collection district will go to a public vote this fall among residents in the area.

The idea has been discussed by civic leaders in those hamlets for several years, as they feel it would eliminate the need to drop off trash on vacant lots in the area — while saving locals garbage costs of their own — if carting can be obtained for a reasonable price.

“It is a community that has a large rental population — the homes are very tight together on small lots. But we also have a community in a socio-economic position where a lot of people are looking for alternative methods for disposing their waste, and that does not include taking it to the dump or having a private carter, but actually placing it somewhere that it doesn’t belong,” said Councilman Brad Bender, who lives in Northampton.

Mr. Bender, a former president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association was elected last fall in his second bid for Southampton Town Board.  The Town Board discussed the issue at its July 10 work session.

While the creation of a garbage district normally is subject to a permissive referendum, in which a petition signed by a certain percent of the voters could force a referendum, Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the Town Board plans to have a mandatory referendum on the issue. The town offered residents the same option when it created beach erosion control districts in Bridghampton, Sagaponack and Hampton Bays.

“This way, there was no gray area in terms of people having the ability to be heard on this,” said Ms. Throne-Holst.

But before a vote, the town will first gather bids from commercial garbage carters in order to get an idea of what it will cost to have a garbage district in the three hamlets, according to assistant town attorney Kathleen Murray. They also will have a public hearing on the proposal before the fall vote.

Vince Taldone, the current president of FRNCA, said at the meeting that about 80 percent of residents in the hamlets currently pay for private carting, coming at a cost of about $40 per month.

By comparison, residents in Riverhead’s six different garbage districts pay on average about $250 per year, said Christine Fetten, Southampton’s director of facilities management.

The referendum for the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton garbage district would be a vote amongst residents in just those three hamlets — not from the entire town. The boundaries of the proposed district would be the same as those of the Flanders Northampton Volunteer Ambulance, which covers those three hamlets.

While neighboring Riverhead Town has had garbage districts for years, Southampton Town doesn’t have any garbage districts, in which residents pay a special tax and have their garbage and recyclables picked up at curbside.

Southampton Town currently requires residents to buy green town garbage bags that are required for self-haulers to dispose of their garbage at town transfer stations. Recyclable items can be disposed of for free at the transfer stations.

There are transfer stations in Hampton Bays, Westhampton, North Sea and Bridgehampton. Residents also can contract with private garbage carters.

Putting Flanders, Riverside and Northampton into a separate garbage district would reduce the amount of revenue the town receives from self-haulers in those areas by about $63,000 per year, officials said.

However Mr. Taldone pointed out that money would also be saved, though it would be tough to quantify — and savings wouldn’t necessarily come from the town’s facilities management department.

For instance, the town highway department last fall cleaned up piles of discarded televisions, yard waste, construction debris, clothing and other items from a lot in Riverside. Those clean-ups would be reduced, though not wiped out entirely.

“I believe this garbage district will greatly reduce the amount of illegal dumping there is, but to entirely eliminate it is a different story,” said Ms. Fetten.

The proposed Flanders, Riverside and Northampton district will likely be just for residential trash, officials said. Slightly over 2,000 homes would be affected.

Mr. Bender said the proposal would have a “single stream” recycling program, in which residents put all of their recyclable containers, paper and cardboard into one container at the curbside on designated recycling days, rather than putting each into separate containers.