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Southampton officials unveil plan for Riverside sewage treatment plant

The Southampton Town Board is planning to buy a parcel of land in the former “Flanders Drive-In” property in Riverside as a site for a new sewage treatment plant that would serve new development for the Riverside business district.

Officials have long said that the lack of adequate sewage treatment in Riverside has hamstrung efforts to develop in the hamlet.

“That’s a huge step forward for us,” said Ron Fisher, the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association at that group’s meeting Monday. Once the sewer treatment issue is resolved, he said, “things will be able to move forward.”

The board is planning to vote Tuesday on a resolution to spend up to $407,000 to buy a 1.5-acre vacant property owned by Debra Robusto in what is now an Enterprise Zone in Riverside.

The purchase will be made using Community Preservation Fund money that can now be used for water quality improvement projects such as sewage treatment under a 2016 voter-approved section of the CPF law that allows up to 20 percent of the CPF money to be used for such projects.

The CPF comes from a voter-approved two-percent real estate transfer tax that initially was only permitted to be used for buying open space or farmland development rights, but over time, has seen other uses for the money approved by voters in ballot propositions, the most recent being in November 2016.

How much it will cost to build a sewage treatment plant for Riverside is still unclear.

Southampton Town Councilman John Bouvier said this will be the third water quality project the town will use CPF funds on.

Southampton Town received $56.4 million in CPF funds in 2017, by far the largest amount received by any of the East End towns, according to statistics released by state Assemblyman Fred Thiele’s (I-Sag Harbor) office.

Since its inception in 1999, the five East End towns have received a combined total of $1.28 billion in CPF revenue.

Mr. Bouvier said the Town Board also is working on legislation to allow smaller community wastewater systems in densely populated residential areas in town.

Photo caption: The site where officials envision building a sewer plant for Riverside. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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