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Civic leader added to advisory committee overseeing master plan update

Riverhead Town officials have agreed to add a representative from a civic association to its Central Advisory Committee, which is overseeing the master plan update. Officials are considering adding a member of an environmental group as well.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said last Tuesday that Sid Bail, the longtime president of the Wading River Civic Association, has agreed to join the CAC.

“I’m very happy that he accepted,” she said. “He is a very well-respected member of the community.”

Councilman Tim Hubbard said that adding an environmentalist to the committee “is another possibility.”

Ms. Aguiar announced the designation of its “Central Advisory Committee” in a Jan. 4 press release. 

The release said the town “has finalized the appointment of 14 members to the Central Advisory Committee (CAC),” which was formed to “review submissions provided by outside consultants retained by the Town of Riverhead to complete the update of the Comprehensive or Master Plan, will offer critical feedback and recommendations to the Town Board.”

But some residents complained that the committee lacked representation from civic and environmental groups. 

The committee membership was comprised of 10 town officials and six representatives from outside the town, including Andrew Mitchell of Peconic Bay Medical Center, Rob Carpenter of the Long Island Farm Bureau, Mitch Pally of the Long Island Builders Institute, Ike Israel of Richmond Realty, Bryan DeLuca of Atlantis Holdings and Riverhead Central School District interim superintendent Christine Tona. 

Mike Foley of Reeves Park, who is a member of the Sound Beach Heights Civic Association, had brought up the issue at last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting as well as at the meeting two weeks earlier.

“We have a lot of talented people on environmental and civic groups in the area,” Mr. Foley said last Tuesday.

“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Councilwoman Catherine Kent said.

The master plan update is the town’s first since 2003.

Town building and planning administrator Jeff Murphree said the town is planning to issue an online survey in conjunction with the master plan update.

“We are planning to go live with the survey at the end of next week,” he said. “We are planning to meet with civic associations and the rest of the community in each of the hamlets in April. There are 11 hamlets and we are combining them to have four meetings.”

The specific dates have yet to be announced.

Mr. Murphree said he is hoping to be able to meet with civic associations to talk with community members about what specific issues they have. 

“I’m around all summer, so I’ll be happy to meet,” he said.

Ms. Aguiar said it will take between 18 months to two years to complete the master plan update. 

“There’s a lot of support for this and I can’t wait to see it,” she said.

Officials have said that much of the update may have to be done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.