Daily beach passes being recalled

A sign along the Peconic River boardwalk.

Day passes to Riverhead Town beaches are being recalled after it was revealed that some of the stores selling the passes weren’t putting a date on them, meaning that they could be used over and over again.

And the town may be doing away with the recently instituted seasonal beach permit at the end of the year and going back to an annual permit, according to Supervisor Sean Walter, who indicated that he may switch his vote, which was the deciding vote in creating the seasonal permit.

Mr. Walter made his comments at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, where John Schneider of Reeves Park presented the board with a petition signed by 138 residents who oppose the new seasonal (Memorial Day to Labor Day) pass. They feel it invites crime, littering and vandalism in the off-season. Dominique Mendez of Wading River said two groups she’s involved with, the Wading River Civic Association and the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, both passed resolutions opposing the seasonal pass.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who proposed the change to a seasonal permit, said that in the off-season, people were being issued tickets for not having beach permits even though there were few people there. He said the permits aren’t even sold in January or February, so someone with the previous year’s permit, which would have expired at the end of December, couldn’t have an updated one when the new year starts.

Councilman Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy favored the year-long pass. Mr. Wooten suggested that it be brought back, but on a June-to-June basis, rather than for the calendar year.

Don’t feed the fowl!

Feeding waterfowl in Riverhead Town could net you a fine as high as $250 under a proposal being considered by the Town Board.

That means white ducks, barnyard geese, Muscovy ducks, seagulls, swans, Canadian geese and other forms of both domestic and migratory wildfowl cannot be fed.

Assistant town engineer Christine Fetten said federal regulations require the town to adopt such a policy by because feeding birdscauses them to lose their migratory instincts, which means they stay here longer and put more waste into local waterways.

“We want them to remain in their natural state and be migratory,” Ms. Fetten said. The Town Board proposal, which was subject to a public hearing Tuesday, says that feeding the birds can cause poor nutrition and spread disease in the birds, and that it can lead to contamination of shellfish areas.

The proposed law would apply year-round and violations would call for a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $250.

The hearing, which drew only one speaker, was held open for written comments until Friday.

Freight village

Could the Enterprise Park at Calverton become a “freight village”?

Engle Burman Group, which owns more than 100 acres of industrial land at EPCAL, is hoping so.

Led by developer Jan Burman, who purchased about 500 acres of industrial land from the town for $17 million in 2001, Engle Burman Group is applying for federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding in conjunction with Riverhead Town to establish a freight village at EPCAL.

The TIGER grant program has $600 million available nationwide for competitive awards on so-called “shovel-ready” projects that will cost more than $10 million. The grants are only available only to municipalities, which is why the town is involved.

A freight village is a defined as an area in which all activities relating to transport, logistics and distribution of goods are carried out by various operators, according to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, which is doing a study on freight villages and the possibility of creating more of them in the New York metropolitan area.

A $5.5 million project to restore an dormant rail spur leading into EPCAL has already begun, aided by $4.8 million in federal stimulus grant money, and more than $700,000 in state grants.

That project is expected to be done within a year, officials have said.

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