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Town engineers wary of idea to allow trailers at disposal facility

09/01/2019 6:00 AM |

Should Riverhead residents be permitted to use trailers to haul yard waste to the town’s disposal facility on Youngs Avenue?

Some Town Board members are pushing to allow it, but town engineers are wary.

Under current rules, residents must obtain a $50 annual permit or $15 day pass to use the facility, which prohibits commercial vehicles, dump or dual axle trailers and dump trucks.

The issue dates back several years, according to town engineer Drew Dillingham, who said they’ve tried allowing trailers twice before.

“It was an absolute nightmare both times,” he said. “You can’t keep commercial vehicles out.”

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said allowing trailers could ease the burden on residents with large properties and elderly residents. “There are people who have large lawns … it’s residential clippings that they want to dump at the yard waste facility and because it has a hydraulic lift on it, the yard waste facility will not take it,” she explained. “I don’t think that’s fair.”

Mr. Dillingham said that the facility could be vulnerable to abuse, mainly from commercial businesses, which could push their volume to over their average 3,000 cubic yards.

In the past, when they’ve allowed trailers, Mr. Dillingham said the volume was closer to 10,000 yards, which requires more oversight, including inspections, permits, quarterly reports and so on.

Deputy town engineer Ernesto Rosini also noted that due to changes in the town’s sanitation schedule, residents are able to dispose of unlimited yard waste, so long as it’s packaged correctly.

“Since we’ve changed the sanitation schedule, there’s a steady stream of waste that’s generated,” he said, adding that allowing trailers could then exacerbate the issue.

Councilwoman Catherine Kent expressed some hesitation at changing the rules.

“My understanding is that it’s only a few people that are requesting this and I don’t think it’s worth changing what’s already working. We have to make hard decisions as leaders and sometimes we have to look at the big picture,” she said.

“But we’re also problem solvers,” Councilman Jim Wooten replied. “That’s what we get paid to do. So when a constituent comes up to you, especially a constituent that pays $18,000 a year in property taxes and they want to dump their stuff … we try to talk about it and see if we can make that happen,” he said.

The board discussed several tactics that could allow residents to use a trailer without opening it up to potential abuse.

One option is allowing residents to use trailers during a window of time twice a year, in the fall and spring.

Mr. Dillingham worried that an attempt to solve a problem for a few people could create larger problems for the disposal facility.

“We’re probably going to run into issues with our vendor,” he said, but agreed to discuss with the carter and report back to the Town Board.

Photo caption: Town engineer Drew Dillingham (left) and deputy town engineer Ernesto Rosini at Thursday’s work session. (Credit: Tara Smith)

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