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Civic leaders want moratorium, but Town Board unlikely to move forward with request

A letter signed by the leaders of six civic associations within Riverhead Town is asking the Town Board to enact an “immediate moratorium.”

Specifically, the letter asks the Town Board to pass a resolution “temporarily halting all retail, industrial, commercial and multi-residential housing in the entire footprint of Riverhead until the comprehensive plan is completed.”

The letter was signed by Sid Bail, president of the Wading River Civic Association; Toqui Terchun; president of the Greater Calverton Civic Association; Thomas O’Haire, president of the Sound Beach Heights Civic Association; Linda Prizer, president of the Northville Beach Civic Association; and Phil Barpato, president of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition. 

Sid Bail, president of the Wading River Civic Association, addressed the Town Board Thursday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The group says in the letter to the Town Board that there are multiple industrial developments in the application stage that should be contemplated as a whole, not “piece-meal.”

The letter also says that the town should review other issues in a more comprehensive manner, such as parking, water and waste disposal needs.

So far, the proposal lacks the three votes needed to pass.

“I share many of the concerns,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said. “However, a moratorium is not the panacea. We can’t act in an ad hoc and irresponsible manner by completely stopping all progress in Riverhead. Every project is looked at individually and as a whole. The impacts to our community are always assessed by each and every board member. The public has and will continue to always have the opportunity to share their views.”

“You got people with permits already, it would be unfair to them,” said Councilman Bob Kern.

“I have read it and I understand what they’re asking for,” said Councilman Frank Beyrodt. “I am not sure it is really doable, but I get their concerns.”

Councilman Ken Rothwell and Tim Hubbard could not be reached for comment. 

Civic leaders point out that the town enacted a moratorium during the 2003 comprehensive plan update.