Key takeaways from Hubbard’s ‘State of Riverhead’ address

With Monday marking his first 100 days in office, Riverhead Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard highlighted his accomplishments so far and outlined his plans for the future. Following are some key takeaways.

Riverhead v. Southampton?

Riverhead soon may be filing a lawsuit against Southampton Town over its development plans for the neighboring hamlets of Flanders and Riverside.

“[Riverhead] Town employees have been attending Southampton Town meetings regarding their 10-year-old revitalization plan for Flanders,” Mr. Hubbard said. “The plan advocates between 1,000 and 2,300 ‘attainable’ income housing units and calls for the development of a much-needed sewer treatment plant to service this area. I have personally attended such meetings and spoken with Southampton Town officials and made it clear that housing units in such large volume would overwhelm the Riverhead Central School District and place an entirely unfair burden on services funded by Riverhead taxpayers — like the library, ambulance, parks and recreation services, among others.”

Mr. Hubbard said Riverhead is adamant that any new sewer district must include the County Center and the County Correctional Center, which are both located in Southampton Town. 

The supervisor said Riverhead hopes to free up sewer capacity along West Main Street for properties on or near the Peconic River. 

“To date, Southampton Town officials have not cooperated or — in my opinion — shown any good faith effort to meet and consider our requests,” he said. “This leaves us with little choice but to pursue legal action to protect the interests of our town and taxpayers. Stay tuned.”

Southampton Town officials have said in their recent meetings that they reduced the number of housing units they are proposing in Riverside to about 1,600.

County to pay up for sewer

“I have been negotiating with County Executive Ed Romaine regarding a fair and reasonable repayment of past sewer bills for services rendered at the County Center and the correctional facility. The county executive has indicated a willingness to work with the town on this matter to achieve a fair and equitable result and I look forward to bringing the matter to conclusion, in the very near future.”

Downtown revitalization

Another major project Mr. Hubbard addressed is Riverhead’s downtown revitalization project

“Currently, we are in the formal, final design phases for the adaptive playground, the riverfront amphitheater, the Town Square, the riverfront and complete street improvements along Main Street,” Mr. Hubbard said. 

The final piece of the agreement with master developer Petrocelli Contracting, the supervisors said, is to construct a hotel on the Town Square. 

The town has also applied for a $25 million grant to build a multi-story parking garage on First Street and for sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, he said.

Comprehensive plan update

Mr. Hubbard said the town’s Comprehensive Plan update “is on time and on budget.” 

“We expect to have the final draft plan at the end of this month,” he said, “after which there will be a public hearing on the plan.” He added that he expects final adoption of the plan at the end of the summer. 

PR position open

Mr. Hubbard said the town is “in the process of hiring a part-time marketing and media person to assist with the distribution of positive public relations in the town.”

He added: “I feel this will help with the overall perception of our town as we go through the revitalization process. It will also include videos of our different departments so the public can understand the functions, services and even employment opportunities within [those] departments. We will also showcase local businesses within the Town of Riverhead.”

Connecting residents to clean water

Mr. Hubbard said he was “very proud to report that our Community Development and Economic Department has obtained $18.1 million for connecting public drinking water and that we are bringing water to areas of Riverhead.” 

Code enforcement

The town hired a new code enforcement officer this year, and officials said this has helped with enforcement. The supervisors provided an update on the statistics so far.

“Code enforcement has already handled 123 calls/cases. They have performed 625 rental inspections, issued 129 Justice Court summonses for code violations, issued 14 notices of violations, completed 12 rental verification inspections and brought in $61,700 for rental permit application fees so far this year,” Mr. Hubbard said.