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Town Board again discusses dropping easement in Wading River

Riverhead Town’s Wading River Hamlet Plan in 1988 recommended building a 24-foot wide easement for an interior road that would be behind the stores on the south side of Route 25A and connect to Wading River-Manor Road.

But that road has never been built, although the easement still exists.

The developer of a proposed commercial site plan called 6333 Realty Group and other property owners had asked the town to terminate the easement, something the Town Planning Board has also recommended in a resolution in April.

On Thursday, the Town Board took up the debate, as a draft resolution to terminate and release the easement on the properties encumbered by it was discussed in preparation of putting it on the agenda of the Nov. 6 Town Board meeting.

But it did not go smoothly.

Jeff Murphree, the town’s building and planning administrator, said “the bypass road is essentially a dead issue because the prior town boards approved McDonalds and Walgreens” on part of what was to be part of the bypass road.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said the Town Board can’t vote on the resolution because it has not been analyzed under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA, to determine its impacts.

Prior coverage:

Town leaning toward dropping long-discussed Wading River ‘service road’

Wading River ‘service road’ proposal stirs debate

The change would affect five lots, she said. These lots currently have McDonalds, Walgreens, Landmark and Bernard May’s farm stand, as well as the 6333 Realty Group land.

“The SEQRA would be minor in nature,” Mr. Murphree said.

“I don’t see it that way,” Ms. Jens-Smith said. “I think SEQRA needs to be done and I’m surprised the resolution is in here with it.”

She said she would pull the resolution from the agenda for the Nov. 6 meeting.

“No, I want it in,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said.

She said the would-be developers of a new veterinary clinic in the 6333 Realty Group building have been waiting for 15 years.

“We need to stop holding people up with minutiae like this,” she said.

Mr. Murphree said the SEQRA would be simple and could be done by the end of the day.

“And it will have a negative declaration before the end of the day,” Ms. Giglio said, referring to a declaration that means additional studies are not needed.

“How do you know that if you haven’t studied it yet?” Ms. Jens-Smith responded.

Mr. Murphree said he had already sent the board a Sept. 29 staff report that summarizes all of the issues that SEQRA would address.

Ms. Jens-Smith said the board would still need to discuss it.

Councilwoman Catherine Kent asked if Mr. Murphree could go over the SEQRA report with the board at its next work session on Nov. 7.

“It’s only a few days,” she said.

Board members agreed to do that.

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