Recap: Town Board tables move approving GPS for highway trucks

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

Local union head Matt Hattorff called on the Riverhead Town Board on Thursday to rethink inking a $20,000 per year, three-year deal for a GPS monitoring service for the town highway department.

The town Civil Service Employees Association president even threatened litigation, should the town move forward.

The board agreed to table the measure at Tuesday’s meeting, though Supervisor Sean Walter said his vote to put off the measure for another day had more to do with rethinking how the department is spending its money and less to do with the threat of a lawsuit.

“That $20,000 each year can be a one more street paved…” Mr. Walter said.

He said he didn’t think a lawsuit would have any merit though.

“Those are town trucks and the town could install GPS units on them if it wanted,” he said. “This is a good idea, but all these good ideas cost money.”

Highway superintendent George “Gio” Woodson said the GPS units would help with safety and accountability within his department.

Among other items, the board voted unanimously on raising rates for customers who receive water from the Riverhead Water District, good for the first increase since 1988.

A public hearing on zoning changes that redefine what constitutes a breezeway was also scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on July 3 in Town Hall.

The thrust of the new definition maintains that a breezeway can no longer be used to connect two separate structures in order for them to be considered one building.

The proposal reads that breezeways should “not exceed dimensions of eight feet by 10 feet, connecting the main building and a garage. Other types of attachments which extend more than 10 feet, or exceed 80 square feet in area, shall not attach a main building to a separate building unless such attachment meets the requirements of occupiable or habitable floor area,” the proposal reads in part.

The move comes after Jedediah Hawkins Inn owners in Jamesport won approvals in December to build a breezeway to connect a barn to the property’s main building. The move opened the door for the owners to build guest rooms in the barn — since under the current law the two buildings are now considered one.

Civic groups had protested the measure, and urged the town to make the zoning changes before Hawkins was allowed to build.

There were also several public hearings on the agenda. These included amending local laws for off-street parking, solid waste management, banning gas-powered boats from the Peconic River west of Peconic Avenue, as well as retirement community zoning changes.

News-Review editor Michael White reported live from the 2 p.m. Town Board meeting.

Click on the play button below for a recap of what happened.

Pick up Thursday’s News-Review newspaper for additional coverage.