United Riverhead Terminal discusses ways to improve access for trucks

Representatives from United Riverhead Terminal met with the Town Board last Thursday to try to get a resolution for a special permit on the agenda as soon as possible.

The special permit will allow them to build a new 28-by-45-foot pad with six biofuel tanks totaling 108,000 gallons on their Northville property. It needs a special permit because it is considered to be a use that does not conform with zoning. The plan is a response to a new state law that requires home heating oil sold in Nassau and Suffolk counties to contain at least 5 percent biodiesel, which is reportedly better for the environment.

In June, Northville residents flooded town hall for a public hearing on the issue, citing concerns for increased traffic on Sound Avenue and possibility of the site becoming a gasoline storage facility.

URT said that there would be peak traffic of 144 trucks at the facility a day, but that would ultimately depend on sales.

Trucks typically come in from Northville Turnpike to Pennys Road and are “forbidden” to drive on Sound Avenue, according to Vic Prusinowski, a representative for URT.

“I think this is benefiting the environment all around,” Councilman Jim Wooten said. “I understand the concerns of Northville, believe me, and those have been addressed as far as trucks … You went out of your way to address the issues.”

Mr. Prusinowski said that he has been working with Riverhead Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson to improve the roadway from Northville Turnpike to Pennys Road that the trucks must navigate.

“The goal is to make sure the tanker truck can make the turn without crossing the double line,” Mr. Prusinowski said.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith suggested the trucks exit directly from URT’s property by creating a new road across existing farmland and adding another access point onto Sound Avenue. Mr. Wooten said this would be “shortsighted.”

Widening Pennys Road and Sound Shore Road was the more likely option favored by the applicant, Mr. Wooten and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio. Ms. Giglio added that generally, more curb cuts leads to more traffic.

“I’m sure you’re not looking to stagnate your business … that you’re always looking to expand and to increase your revenue at the business, and in doing so I think considerations of the community should be taken into account,” Ms. Jens-Smith.

URT officials were in agreement but wanted to make sure the safety issue would not hold up the resolution for the special permit.

Ms. Giglio said she would reach out to the highway superintendent so he can evaluate the plan further.

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Photo caption: URT met with the Riverhead Town Board Thursday. (Rachel Siford photo)