June 14, 2006
Members of the Long Island Power Association were on hand at the Riverhead Town Board's work session Thursday to plead for support for their project to create a working farm museum that displays antique farm equipment on land they own on Sound Avenue. The property will feature historic homes and buildings from the area that are donated to the group.
Dave Young, president of the group, says his non-for-profit organization is having trouble obtaining a building permit for a barn to store the antique equipment because of zoning regulations. The area is zoned historic corridor and has a number of restrictions. For example, the town's code requires that the group's project be set back from Sound Avenue by 500 feet, which Young says is too far from the roadway. "We are trying to preserve history, but if we are set back that far off the road, we will be history," he said.
The town board said they are willing to work with the group; however, the final decision is up to the town's planning board. The town's planning director Rick Hanley said he will discuss the issue with planning board members. The board is hoping the planning board will agree to waive the setback requirement if LIPA agrees to participate in a site plan review.
The group does not need to submit a site plan since it is contemplating an agricultural use.
The town board is contemplating where to place members of Riverhead's recreation department who are stationed at the town's recreation facility in Calverton. The town, according to Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale, has received an offer from a company that would like to purchase the building, known as the George Young Community Center.
Among the options, said Cardinale, is the idea of moving the members of the department to the Jamesport-based senior center.
Empire Zone Change
Tracy Stark, the town's Empire Zone coordinator and Town Attorney Dawn Thomas discussed changes to the state's Empire Zone requirements, which would require the town board to pass a resolution agreeing to the amendments.
The Empire Zone, which is located in downtown Riverhead and at Enterprise Park at Calverton, seeks to draw in new business by offering benefits, such as tax abatements.
Among the changes to the zone, which the state is asking for, said Thomas, are verbiage amendments that specifically name town representatives to the zone board.
Yard Waste Hours
Councilman Ed Densieski has asked the town board to reevaluate personnel placement at the town's landfill. Right now, the town pays an employee to sit in a truck all day and watch what comes into the landfill. Densieski said he believes that it is a waste of taxpayers' dollars to have a monitor at the site, even if the town only pays him $10 an hour.
Councilwoman Barbara Blass, however, argued that as it is now, illegal waste (or garbage that is mixed in grass clippings) is being dumped at the landfill and that a monitor must be on duty.
Densieski suggested that the town place a camera at the site instead of leaving the site open on the honor system.
In the end, on the suggestion of Councilman John Dunleavy, the board agreed to change the hours of operation at the site, which will cut the man hours needed to guard the site.
Ready For The Fourth
According to the town board, the Riverfront project is expected to be complete by June 23.
While it is a month off schedule, the board was happy to report that the project will be complete just in time for a planned July 4 event presented by Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons.
The $2.4 million project, which is being paid for mostly through state and federal grants, commenced on July 28 and incorporates new bulk heading, green space, lighting, and a bike path that will run from the Route 24 traffic circle through the Peconic Riverfront and Grangebel Park.
Riverhead Supervisor Phil Cardinale's special projects manager Dave Cullen was let go last week after he failed to take a county civic service exam.
To remain as a town employee, Cullen was required to take the test, which was scheduled for May 26; however, when he didn't show up for the exam, the county's department of civil service and human resources directed the town to fire Cullen.
On June 6, in a 4-1 vote, Cullen was terminated as an employee. Councilman Ed Densieski cast the sole no vote.
Let Us Park
Town residents showed up in droves at last week's town board meeting to voice concern over a proposal to limit the number of RVs residents can park in their driveways.
Proposed by Councilman George Bartunek, the legislation aims to help clean up the town by only allowing residents to park a boat or trailer on their property but not an RV or vice versa. The legislation would also prohibit cars or trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds from being parked anywhere in a residential neighborhood.
Dog's Day in Court
The town has requested and received an adjournment in a court battle over a pit bull that is being held at the town's animal shelter.
The owner of the dog, who gave the dog to the animal shelter to put up for adoption last month, is trying to get the dog back after she learned that the town planned to euthanize the animal after learning that it had a history of biting.
The town and the dog's owner will be back in Riverhead Town Justice Court on July 3.