08/10/14 10:00am
08/10/2014 10:00 AM
A taxi cab crashed into this parked pickup truck last month. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

A taxi cab crashed into this parked pickup truck last month. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

After a car crash involving a Day and Night Taxi driver led to the company’s — and driver’s — taxi revocations, the company is appealing the town’s decision.

The Riverhead Town Board has scheduled an Aug. 19 public hearing at 7 p.m. about the appeal filed by Day and Night Taxi and Limo against the town’s recent revocation of its taxicab business license, which had allowed them to operate in town. (more…)

08/08/14 12:00pm
08/08/2014 12:00 PM
Councilman John Dunleavy (left) and Sean Walter at a previous work session. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Councilman John Dunleavy (left) and Sean Walter at a previous work session. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Riverhead Town is facing a $4 million deficit and a potential 12.5 percent tax increase, even if its spending stays at current levels next year, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

It can either cut spending by $4 million, which he says would require the town to cut about 60 jobs, or it could increase taxes by 12.5 percent, which would require the town to pierce the state’s two-percent tax cap.  (more…)

07/16/14 5:10pm
07/16/2014 5:10 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Councilman James Wooten (from left), Councilman John Dunleavy and Supervisor Sean Walter in Town Hall.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Councilman James Wooten (from left), Councilman John Dunleavy and Supervisor Sean Walter in Town Hall.

Riverhead Town Board members again debated the issue of political caucuses at Tuesday’s board meeting, when two council members thought the board was in agreement on three personnel moves — only to see them fall flat in a 2-2 vote.

Councilman George Gabrielsen was absent from Tuesday’s board meeting, and following the personnel votes, Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman Jim Wooten said that the change came as a result of a closed door political caucus, something board members argued about earlier this year.

Mr. Walter said he stopped attending the meetings in January.

“I don’t know what transpired between executive session on Thursday and today, unless it was something I wasn’t at,” Mr. Wooten said on Tuesday. “You see, Jim, you and I did not attend (GOP chairman) Mason Haas’ caucus,” Mr. Walter said.

“It was not a caucus,” Ms. Giglio said. “There were only two board members there. And I was always a ‘no’ on this.”

Mr. Walter suggested that “Somebody politically is going to get a job” as a result of the votes.

But Councilman John Dunleavy had a change of heart on Wednesday.

Mr. Dunleavy said on Wednesday that he has since changed his vote, after discussing it after Tuesdays’s meeting, and now plans to vote in favor of the three personnel moves, which he now believes will save the town money.

The Town Board will be holding a special town board meeting on Thursday to “take up time sensitive employee resolutions.”

Ms. Giglio said on Tuesday that she first heard about the personnel moves at Thursday’s work session and wanted more information. The resolutions included a transfer of a highway employee to a janitor position in the senior center, a transfer of a cook in the senior center to a highway position and the hiring of a temporary cook in the senior center.

She said the main reason for the caucus was an unrelated issue: to discuss Mr. Walter’s refusal to sign a contract for a new building department software program that the rest of the board voted to authorize him to sign. Mr. Walter said that he believes this contract required a competitive bid.

Mr. Dunleavy said after Tuesday’s meeting that he voted no because by transferring a cook in the senior center to the highway department, the town would be short one cook.

06/19/14 11:45am
06/19/2014 11:45 AM
A view of Terry's Creek from Hubbard Avenue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A view of Terry’s Creek from Hubbard Avenue. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The Riverhead Town Board is considering allowing a slalom water skiing course in Terry’s Creek in Aquebogue, proposed by a Jamesport woman who said few such areas exist on the East End.

But the measure already has run into some opposition from Aquebogue residents who have started a petition against it.

(more…)

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.