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Gabrielsen appears headed to town’s Planning Board

Supervisor Sean Walter and councilman George Gabrielsen. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

The Riverhead Town Board is expected to vote on a shakeup of the town’s Planning Board at its final meeting of 2015 on Dec. 31.

The board, in discussing upcoming resolutions at its work session on Thursday, reviewed a resolution to appoint outgoing Councilman George Gabrielsen to a five-year term on the Planning Board, replacing Joe Baier, a retired county health department official. Mr. Baier, who’s also an engineer at Dvirka and Bartilucci, has been on the Planning Board for 25 years.

The board is also expected to vote on resolutions to make Stan Carey the new Planning Board chairman and Ed Densieski its new vice chairman. They will replace current chairman Richard O’Dea, who has held that position since 2002 and who will remain on the Planning Board, and Mr. Baier, who is currently vice chair.

Stan Carey was appointed to the Planning Board in early 2014 to fill a vacancy.

He is the superintendent of the Massapequa Water District and previously worked for the Riverhead Water District. He’s also an ex-captain in the Riverhead Fire District.

Mr. Densieski is a former town councilman who owns an auto repair shop in Riverhead. He has been on the Planning Board since 2009.

This is the third consecutive year the board appointed a new person to the Planning Board. Aquebogue farmer Lyle Wells was replaced by Prest-O-Peconic owner George Nunnaro at the start of 2015.

“These appointments are not for life,” said Supervisor Sean Walter, indicating that he believes he has three votes for the Planning Board changes.

“This is me asking George Gabrielsen to do this because I don’t want him to leave,” Mr. Walter said. “I also had mentioned early on that I wanted a farmer on the Planning Board … I believe George will be an asset to the Planning Board.”

Mr. Gabrielsen, who opted not to run for reelection as a councilman this year, said he had not even thought about seeking a Planning Board seat until Mr. Walter suggested it to him a few weeks ago.

“He was really concerned about completing the EPCAL subdivision. He said he wanted to get that approved, and he wanted a farmer on the board,” Mr Gabrielsen said, indicating that he accepted the appointment.

Councilman John Dunleavy said he didn’t think the board should make someone Planning Board chair who has only recently been appointed to the Planning Board. (Mr. Carey was appointed in February 2014).

“I think we have three votes for this,” Mr. Walter said. “I’m going to push this forward, too. He’s (Mr. Carey) done a stellar job.”

Photo Caption: Supervisor Sean Walter and councilman George Gabrielsen. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)