06/18/14 3:30pm
06/18/2014 3:30 PM
A state judge said a lawsuit filed by Riverhead Town will be put on hold until the Planning Board rules on Gershow Recycling's site plan. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photo)

A state judge said a lawsuit filed by Riverhead Town will be put on hold until the Planning Board rules on Gershow Recycling’s site plan. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photo)

Riverhead Town’s lawsuit in state Supreme Court against Gershow Recycling is going back to the town Planning Board for the moment.

Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz said at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting that the courts have adjourned the case until the Planning Board makes a decision as to whether Gershow is a different use from the Fred J. Gallo junkyard that had been operating at the Hubbard Avenue site before them.  (more…)

06/13/14 4:00pm
06/13/2014 4:00 PM
Members of the town's parking committee have called for parking meters downtown, though some board members are hesitant to support the proposal (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Members of the town’s parking committee have called for parking meters downtown, though some board members are hesitant to support the proposal (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Is there a traffic problem downtown?

It depends on who you ask.

But members of the town’s parking committee believe a problem exists — and that it’s just a matter of time until it becomes a really big one.  (more…)

06/12/14 9:45am
06/12/2014 9:45 AM
A clothing bin in the TJ Maxx shopping center was overfilled with clothes this week. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

A clothing bin in the TJ Maxx shopping center was overfilled with clothes this week. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Riverhead Town Board members may have had their fill of the overstuffed clothing donation bins that dot shopping centers across town.

At their work session last Thursday, board members discussed enacting a law that could require $100 annual permits for clothing drop-off bins, would limit their use by nonprofit organizations and would impose stiff fines when bins overflow.  (more…)

06/06/14 2:00pm
06/06/2014 2:00 PM
SecondSt_Firestation_BE_R

The Second Street firehouse was obtained by Riverhead in 2011 in a land swap with the Riverhead Fire District. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file)

Forget about moving Town Hall to the Second Street firehouse.

The new plan is to sell that building to Suffolk Theater owner Bob Castaldi. Which, ironically, was the old plan too.

After Town Board members hastily passed a resolution at Thursday’s work session to sell the firehouse to Mr. Castaldi without his knowledge — and at a higher price than what he had previously offered — Mr. Castaldi said Friday that he’s still interested, but he has to determine if it will make sense economically for him to do so.

The resolution passed Thursday would sell the building to Mr. Castaldi for $500,000, whereas his prior proposal — a proposal made in February that the town board seemed to embrace before three council members changed their minds — was to buy it for $375,000.

The Town Board also is planning to apply for grants to turn the firehouse into a Suffolk County Regional Agritourism Visitors Center, although the resolution to sell the building to Mr. Castaldi includes no restrictions on what he could use the building for.

“I’m looking into it to see if it’s a workable situation,” Mr. Castaldi of the agritourism proposal in an interview Friday. He was not present at Thursday’s work session where the issue was discussed, and said he didn’t even know it was being brought up until afterwards, when he got a flood of phone calls.

Town Board members had informally agreed to sell the firehouse to Mr. Castaldi in February for $375,000, which was the highest offer the town got through a request for proposals for the site.

At the time, Mr. Castaldi had proposed to lease the building to “Dino A-Live,” an interactive dinosaur theater company from Japan.

But when an engineering study on the cost of renovating the town-owned Route 58 armory building into a justice court and police headquarters found it would cost $13 million to make that conversion, three Town Board members backed off that plan and some suggested that an alternate plan might be to move Town Hall to the firehouse. In turn, the idea was to use the current Town Hall building as a justice court, with the police taking over the entirety of the building they now share with the court.

That also meant support waned for selling the firehouse to Mr. Castaldi.

During a presentation on the armory project last month, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio asked that a similar study be done on the cost of moving Town Hall to the firehouse and justice court to Town Hall, rather than the armory proposal. She said on Thursday the cost for such a study would be $175,000, ”which we don’t have.”

That being the case, she said at Thursday’s meeting that she would now support selling the building to Mr. Castaldi, although she still thinks the $13 million armory project is too expensive. To fix space woes at the justice court, she suggested putting a modular building behind the current court for use as court space, with a sally port for transporting prisoners.

05/30/14 10:00am
Stony Brook business students Neha Shethia and Justin Kline present their EPCAL study to the Town Board Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Stony Brook business students Neha Shethia and Justin Kline present their EPCAL study to the Town Board Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

Riverhead Town is in contract to pay professional consultants about $500,000 for a land-use study land at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

But a study done for free by three Stony Brook University students may have the biggest impact in terms of convincing the town to allow mixed-use residential development at EPCAL — something town officials have opposed in the past.

(more…)

05/27/14 6:00pm
05/27/2014 6:00 PM
Neighbors have been complaining about noise and ground shaking near Gershow Recycling on Hubbard Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Neighbors have been complaining about noise and ground shaking near Gershow Recycling on Hubbard Avenue. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Riverhead Town has formally taken Gershow Recycling to court, filing legal papers on Friday after continually hearing complaints from neighbors about noise and vibrations coming from Gershow’s Hubbard Avenue recycling facility.

The Town Board on April 15 had authorized the legal action, saying the property “is being used and occupied in violation of various sections of the Code of the Town of Riverhead and the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.” (more…)

05/10/14 10:00am
05/10/2014 10:00 AM
(Credit: Tim Gannon)

(Credit: Tim Gannon)

For readers out there who aren’t big town hall buffs, our government reporter, Tim Gannon, does a bang-up job each week reporting live from public Town Board meetings. In a media cycle that calls for fast, reliable information, his live blogs — with quotes, photos and meeting details along with his built-in perspective from 18 years covering the town — offer a great glimpse into the inner workings of our local government, if that’s your thing. Of course, since I’m an editor it’s my job to follow the news out of our local schools, governments and business communities (more…)