Board backs up plan to hook up Riverside to local sewer

Hooking up Riverside to Riverhead Town’s sewer district could be a “win-win” for the towns, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

Riverside, which is a hamlet in Southampton Town, currently lacks sewer service, something that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to complete revitalization plans for the area, said Southampton Town planner Kyle Collins at Thursday’s work session.

Local elected officials have been pushing a plan that would transform the blighted area into a thriving downtown village with commercial retail space and apartments. Even though Riverside is across the Peconic River — and the town border — Mr. Walter said the success of that hamlet is linked to downtown Riverhead’s own efforts to grow.

“If they can’t bring that side up, our downtown is going to be stuck,” he said. “It takes a village to raise a town.”

The Riverhead Town Board unanimously agreed to consider allowing Riverside to hook across town lines, clearing the way for Southampton Town to fund maps and plans for the area. In exchange, Southampton Town would pay for upgrades at the Riverhead sewer plant and pay for the cost of sewer service for the area.

“To get the synergy between Riverside and Riverhead, which has always been a sticking point … I think it’s a good thing in concept,” said Councilman James Wooten, who has town sewer service at his own home.

Mr. Walter said hooking up Riverside would also bolster the town’s claims as a regional sewer center. That could prove key to legal filings made by the town to get a slice of the county’s sewer stabilization fund, which recently handed out millions to the Ronkonkoma Hub area.

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