Letters to the Editor


A Peconic Landing not necessary here

I am writing to state my objections to a project proposed for land north of Home Depot on Mill Road. This project, from the Concordia Senior Communities of Melville, if built, would abut my property line. Clearly I have a big issue with a development of this size and type here. This parcel is currently zoned Destination Retail and an Agricultural Protection Zone. Both of these zonings would have to be changed to Retirement Community to construct this project.
In all fairness, a site plan has not been submitted and an advisory panel has been established to determine both the needs of Riverhead and a potential zoning change. But it’s clear the developer wants a sprawling community (Riverhead’s version of Peconic Landing), with 105 housing units for individuals who are living independently, 50 units of congregate living for those needing various levels of assistance with daily activities (assisted living) and a 24-unit enhanced assisting living and skilled nursing facility.
What seems a bit unclear from attending the April 20 advisory panel meeting is what Riverhead Town wants for this type of project. This town does not need additional housing for the over 55 (or 62) who live independently, nor does it need more nursing care facilities. There is an abundance of 55+ housing within 2.3 miles on Middle Road. I can see a need for an assisted living facility, in what would be similar to a small apartment building (congregate living, as stated above) somewhere in the town.
What is worrisome is what the town has preliminarily proposed for the change in the Retirement Community zoning. This proposal calls for “single family residential dwelling units,” “intermediate, chronic and/or convalescent residential units … including nursing home, assisted living, skilled nursing care…” The advisory panel needs to think long and hard about what type of facility might be built on this particular parcel. The developer gives all the persuasive arguments for what he wants, with the subtext, of course, of making a big profit.
I hope our town officials and committee members don’t cave in to whatever is dangled in front of them. There is much to consider beyond the tactics of the developer, who stresses that the only viable (profit making for his company) type of facility is the combination of independent living, assisted living and a skilled nursing facility.
In a larger context, what is the purpose of zoning, or the master plan for that matter, when, historically, all a corporation has to do if it wants to build a project on land not properly zoned is ask the town for a change in zoning. What is the point of zoning, anyway?

Marsha Kipperman


No rubber stamp board a good thing

I wanted to publicly address last week’s guest spot of Democratic Party chairman Vinny Villella (“Just look what they’re telling reporters,” April 21).
Thank yous are in order for Vinny for so masterfully acknowledging the fact that there is no rubber stamp government to be found anywhere on the all-Republican Riverhead Town Board, nor should there ever be!
Over the last two and half years we’ve all witnessed the ruin of the rubber stamp held in the hands of Messrs. Obama and Reed and Ms. Pelosi.
Would I, or anyone, ever desire a rubber stamp Town Board? Perish the thought!
The supervisor and the four Town Board members are lock-step on one big, over-riding issue: serving the taxpayers of Riverhead. Period.
They each are dedicated, goal-oriented individuals who are equally outspoken and passionate in the methods to achieve the best for our taxpayers. As individuals, they each possess their own strong beliefs and convictions. Their opinions widely vary — and they’re not afraid to talk about them. I for one would never seek to put a lid on that brand of vision and enthusiasm.
Do they always get along? Absolutely not. What committee or group or civic or fraternal organization has always seen eye to eye?
What’s most surprising and amazing about Mr. Villella’s piece is that somehow he’s forgotten the hard fact that his so-called “Riverhead Party” that disbanded was the textbook definition of dysfunctional. They were the poster kids of dysfunction!
Perhaps he just can’t accept the true fact that accomplishments are taking hold and going forward in Riverhead, thanks in large measure to a no rubber stamp Town Board.
Vinny, please take some friendly advice from an old campaign war horse and concentrate on your own party. To do otherwise is like instructing the donkeys to clean out the stable.
I guess for Mr. Villella it’s “do as I say, not as I do.” C’mon, Vinny, if the shoe fits wear it!

John Galla
chairman, Riverhead Republican Committee