County seeks to preserve more land along the Peconic

Riverhead Town officials are considering a partnership with Suffolk County to preserve a .31-acre riverfront parcel on Main Street.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio suggested the parcel be preserved during a separate discussion last fall on preserving a 16-acre former duck farm farther west along the Peconic River.

Board members had been at odds on whether to support Suffolk County’s plan to acquire the land, citing concerns about invasive species and responsibility of the town parks department to maintain the property.

“[This parcel] is closer to downtown,” Ms. Giglio said during a work session Thursday. The parcel immediately to the west has already been acquired by the county and a developer is seeking site plan approval to construct a 7-Eleven just east of the property.

“With all the new apartments that are being built, I thought it would be a great place for a launch spot,” Ms. Giglio said.

The land is currently owned by Tom Mielnicki, who has sent a letter of interest to the county. The site had previously been approved for a 40-seat restaurant, according to Ms. Giglio.

County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) said that land use is something that will be considered if the county moves forward with the appraisal process.

The Town Board must draft a letter of support and adopt a resolution expressing interest in partnering on a hamlet park before the county moves forward with the appraisal, Mr. Krupski said.

The county requires towns to also submit conceptual plans for eventual uses on preserved properties.

“I would advise you not to put a lot of time and energy into the concept plan,” Mr. Krupski said. He also suggested the town include a line in its resolution of support that would allow for future changes to the plans, subject to county approval.

He said the county would also like to move forward on the appraisal of the 16-acre property owned by Larry Simms. A resolution concerning the property is currently tabled on the floor of the county legislature.

The appraisal could take up to eight months, Mr. Krupski said. After an offer is made, the property owner has 60 days to decline or accept.

“It would be a nice asset for the town,” said Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith.

Mr. Krupski referred to the property as an “important parcel” in the land preservation effort. “The county did just acquire the adjacent piece, so now you’ve got two pieces together and you’re starting to accumulate a little public land there with access to the water,” he said.

Photo caption: County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) spoke at Thursday’s work session. (Tara Smith)