The Riverhead Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday to terminate a June 2012 agreement that has allowed several downtown business owners to locate a “dumpster corral” on town-owned land in the riverfront parking lot.
The agreement was signed with a group called the Downtown Riverhead Southside Business Owners, which includes PeraBell Food Bar, Sweet Tart Frozen Yogurt Cafe, Taqueria Cielito Lindo, Mazi, Tweeds Restaurant & Buffalo Bar, Riverhead Vacuum & Sewing Center, Dark Horse Restaurant, Giancalone Insurance Agency and Vail-Leavitt Music Hall.
Now, however, the dumpsters will have to be removed within 15 days, according to the Town Board resolution.
“This has been a long time coming,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said. “We have tried and tried working with the business owners downtown, predominantly the restaurants, to take care of that garbage corral on the south side of the Peconic parking lot, and it’s been more disgusting now than it’s been in recent times.”
The idea of the corral was to provide a central location for dumpsters, so they wouldn’t be spread all over the place. Dumpsters were supposed to be locked shut and the corral itself was also supposed to be locked — but that wasn’t happening, officials said.
Councilwoman Catherine Kent said it wasn’t just the fault of restaurants.
“People are [illegally] dumping there,” she said. “The day I was there, there was a mattress.”
John Mantzopoulos, owner of Mazi, said it’s a multi-faceted issue. He agrees that some business owners weren’t locking their dumpsters or taking care of their space, but said there’s also a lot of outside interference, such as people not affiliated with a business using the dumpsters illegally and sea gulls and turkey vultures picking apart the garbage.
Mr. Mantzopoulos said he put a small dumpster in the back of his property two weeks ago. He said there’s also an issue with people dumping household garbage in town trash cans along Main Street downtown.
Photo caption: The dumpster corral. (Tim Gannon photo)