Cell towers sought for town-owned land

06/10/2010 12:00 AM |

The Town Board is seeking proposals from cellular companies to place towers on four town-owned properties: the sewer district property on Riverside Drive in Riverhead, the yard waste facility on Youngs Avenue in Calverton, the highway department yard on Osborn Avenue and the Wading River highway department yard adjacent to East Wind Caterers on Route 25A.

The town would lease those sites to the cell carriers.

“We’ve had several proposals for cell towers in the Town of Riverhead,” Councilman John Dunleavy said at a recent work session, during which he proposed the request for proposals, or RFP. “These proposed sites are not near residential locations. This is an RFP for town parcels, just to see if we can get some people that want to put up towers here.”

Officials did not have an estimate for how much revenue they hoped to raise through the proposed leases.

Mr. Dunleavy said the town would encourage cell companies to co-locate on the proposed tower sites, each of which could accommodate six carriers.

“If we do this on public property, maybe these other ones won’t keep popping up all over the place,” said Supervisor Sean Walter, “because we’ll have more leverage to force them to co-locate if we have a place for them to go.” There are currently three pending proposals for new cell towers in Wading River, he said.

The proposals are due on June 23.


Still faced with a potential budget deficit in the $7 million range, the Riverhead Town Board formally voted last Wednesday to chop $376,550 from the 2010 budget.

“We’re taking 5 percent out of every [department’s] budget this year,” Mr. Dunleavy said. “We’re starting to reduce our expenditures.”

“This is a $376,000 savings to the general fund,” Mr. Walter said. “We’re getting there, folks.”

Mr. Walter had called for the 5 percent cuts earlier this year in response to projections that put the 2011 budget deficit at more than $7 million.

The $376,550 cut just about equals the amount the 2010 budget assumed the town would get from the settlement of a lawsuit with Riverhead Park Corp. and Larry Oxman. The town is accusing them of illegally clearing land on Route 58. Officials now say that settlement is not likely to occur.

The 2010 budget, which was crafted by the previous administration, also anticipates receiving $450,000 in revenue from the sale of the East Lawn building on East Main Street, but officials say that, too, is not likely to happen.

Among the biggest cuts approved last week were $78,878 in litigation and appraisal costs, $32,500 in municipal fuel contractual expenses, $38,910 in police car repairs and $25,000 in overtime in the finance department.

The Town Board also scheduled a public hearing on a proposal to offer town workers an early retirement incentive. That hearing will be held during the July 7 Town Board meeting, which starts at 2 p.m. in Town Hall.

TRUCKING concerns at EPCAL

While Riverhead Town has been trying to direct truck traffic heading for the Calverton Enterprise Park to the Route 25 entrance, the state Department of Transportation has recently ordered that entrance temporarily closed.

“Right now we’re working out the details with the developer, and we’ve agreed in concept on reopening it once the proper improvements are made,” said DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters.

The developer, Jan Burman’s Engel Burman company, will have to put in a traffic signal at the entrance on Route 25, Ms. Peters said, as well as turning lanes and access and drainage improvements.

“We’re assuming Route 25 will become the main access point to that site,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Riverhead Town Board has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday night that would put an eight-ton weight limit on Schultz Road, also known as Wading River-Manor Road. The limit would run south from its northeasterly intersection with Grumman Boulevard to the town line.

Mr. Dunleavy said the town’s traffic advisory committee recommended the change because “240 trucks a day were counted on that road. These heavy trucks are damaging our roads and our drainage.”

The proposed change would require trucks traveling to the Calverton Enterprise Park from the LIE to either come off the William Floyd Parkway onto Route 25 or to use Exit 71 onto Edwards Avenue.

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