Move to replace Rose Sanders on Riverhead ZBA may be delayed

Riverhead Town
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Former Republican town councilwoman Rose Sanders appearing before Riverhead Town Democratic Committee members in 2009, when she was seeking the Democratic nomination.

The Riverhead Town Board may replace former councilwoman Rose Sanders on the Zoning Board of Appeals with Leroy Barnes, a former town building department coordinator.

Board members discussed the change informally at a work session Tuesday, where they reviewed resolutions for Wednesday afternoon’s formal meeting.

Ms. Sanders served four years, 2002 to 2005, as a town council member, having been elected with Republican backing. However, the party declined to renominate her in 2005, going instead with John Dunleavy, who eventually defeated Ms. Sanders in a primary and remains on the board. Ms. Sanders later changed her enrollment to the Independence Party and sought a Democratic nomination for a council seat in 2009, but was denied.

During this election season, she did radio voice-over ads backing Democratic supervisor candidate Phil Cardinale.

Mr. Barnes had been the town’s chief building inspector for many years, and was an elected assessor for many years before that. He retired earlier this year.

“You can’t get better than Leroy Barnes on the ZBA. The guy knows the zoning code in and out, and he’s got 30 years’ experience,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

“I figure the voice-over did her in,” Councilman Jim Wooten speculated of the potential replacement of Ms. Sanders, who was appointed to the ZBA during the administration of Mr. Cardinale.

Mr. Wooten later said he’s unsure who he’ll support for the ZBA post, saying he liked both Ms. Sanders and Mr. Barnes.

Councilman John Dunleavy said he supports Mr. Barnes, but Councilman George Gabrielsen said later in the day that Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who was not present at the work session, had wanted to put out a request for candidates for the ZBA post and see how many other people might be interested.

Mr. Gabrielsen said he would support postponing the vote if Ms. Giglio makes that proposal. And Mr. Wooten said he did not believe the issue would be decided Wednesday. Ms. Sanders could not be reached for comment.

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