Riverhead school board to correct subdivision deal

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside.
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Suffolk County officials recently determined the Riverhead School District improperly subdivided a 1.5-acre lot from Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside.

The Riverhead school board is expected to vote on a pair of resolutions at its regular meeting tonight to correct a an error made nearly 20 years ago.

According to Superintendent Nancy Carney, when the district sought to get Suffolk County health department permits for the planned kitchen renovations at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School in Riverside, it discovered the adjacent Long Island Head Start  property had never been properly subdivided with the county when the town deeded that land over to Head Start back in 1994.

The district originally owned the 1.5-acre piece of property where Head Start, a nonprofit group that provides child development programing, now sits.

The district retained ownership of  about 15 adjacent acres on the Phillips Avenue campus.

“We sold it to them for practically nothing,” Ms. Carney said of the Head Start land.  The lots are listed as being subdivided in Southampton Town tax maps, but not by county records.

The school district is undertaking kitchen renovations in the Phillips Avenue and Riley Avenue schools that were part of a voter-approved bond act a few years ago. The resolution Tuesday merely begins the formal subdivision process with the county for the two properties.

The board’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting includes resolutions declaring the school board as lead agency in the review of the application, and adopting a resolution declaring that no environmental impact study is needed for the subdivision.

The issue, Ms. Carney said, is unrelated to a plan discussed at the March 19 school board meeting in which she proposed a long-term proposal that would see the district’s dilapidated bus barn at its main campus leveled and replaced with a new garage and maintenance facility outside Phillips Avenue Elementary School.

Ms. Carney will also continue her preliminary 2013-14 budget presentation tonight to review the district’s revenues, projected tax levy and provide an overview of the total tentative spending plan.

The school board is expected to adopt the budget April 23.

There are also several personnel items listed on the meeting’s agenda, including assistant superintendent Lois Etzel’s retirement in June and athletic supervisor Louis Vecchio’s resignation effective March 21.

The public portion of tonight’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Additional reporting by Tim Gannon.

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Riverhead school board agenda, April 9, 2013