April 26, 2006
Joint Preservation Efforts For Riverside Drive
Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale and Legislator Edward P. Romaine held a press conference last Friday announcing the adoption of a planning steps resolution for the joint acquisition of the Riverside Drive property in Riverhead.
The 55-acre parcel is the largest remaining tract of undeveloped land along the Peconic River estuary in Riverhead and includes approximately 1500 feet of Peconic River shoreline and tidal wetlands. It also lies within a critical resource area.
In addition, the parcel is listed as a priority acquisition on the Town of Riverhead Open Space Plan, the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan, as well as the Peconic Estuary Comprehensive Management Plan.
Additionally, with its shallow groundwater levels and mature hardwood forests, the area serves as a watershed for Sawmill, Terry's and Meeting House Creeks.
With the adoption of the planning steps resolution, the county's division of real estate is authorized to explore environmental reviews, order appraisals, and negotiate with the property owners of the Riverside Drive parcel.
"It is my hope that this property will be kept in its pristine state and protected for future generations," said Romaine.
"I am encouraged by the very positive movement represented by Legislator Romaine's actions because they reverse the position previously held by our former legislator, who, once the initial deal did not come to fruition, wanted no further involvement by the county in a prospective purchase," said Cardinale.
Now, however, "it is clear that the county will be willing partners with the town, which will enhance the possibility of the deal actually being made."
Key, stressed Cardinale, is establishing a partnership between the county, the town, and organizations such as the Nature Conservancy to "develop meaningful working contacts" with owners of the properties, many of whom he believes "would look positively upon a sale."
But first, "You've got to identify who the exact owners are and work with them to get a majority of them interested in a sale," he said.