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Riverhead Town has gone on record in support of a non-binding referendum on the creation of a Peconic Bay Regional Transportation Authority to replace the MTA on the twin forks and in the town of Brookhaven.

The Town Board yesterday voted 4-0 to  support bills currently pending in the state senate and assembly authorizing the referendum. Supervior Sean Walter, who is on vacation, was absent. The action came in response to a home rule request by the state seeking the town’s opinion on the proposal.

A bill authorizing the referendum was introduced in the state senate by Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and in the assembly by members Marc Alessi (D-Shoreham), Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) and Dean Murray (R-Medford). It was drafted in response to the the new MTA payroll tax that took effect last year and the service cutbacks proposed by the MTA in January. Following public outcry and opposition at public hearings, the MTA reversed itself on some of its proposed service cuts, including a plan to eliminate the Greenport branch of the main line. Weekday service on the Greenport branch will remain as is, but weekend service will be eliminated except during July and August, according to a plan adopted by the MTA board March 24.

If the bill, which is currently in committee, passes both houses and is signed by the governor, there could be a vote as early as this Novenber.

In other action, the Town Board:

authorized the dedication of the newly constructed fish passage in Grangabel Park to the memory of Bob Conklin, who worked tirelessly for many years to protect and preserve the alewife population in the Peconic River;

designated May 1 “Riverhead Litter Awareness and Cleanup Day.” 

The board also approved special event permit applications for:

  • a wind turbine ribbon-cutting ceremony at Half Hollow Nursery, Main Road, Riverhead for April 10, 1-4 pm;
  • a fundraiser carnival and flower sale at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School,  Main Road, Aquebogue, for May 5-9;
  • the East End Arts Council’s 14th annual Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival, May 31 from noon to 5 pm;
  • the Riverhead Railroad Festival 2010 on Saturday Aug. 28 and Sunday Aug. 29.

The Town Board also authorized notices of the following public hearings:

on a proposal to require the timely removal of damaged utility poles (April 20 at 7 pm);

on a proposal to grant amnesty, for a period of thrree years to the owners of homes having illegal secondary apartments exist.

on a zoning code revision to the definition of “floor area” (May 4 at 2:15 pm);

a zoning code revision to add “home occupations” to special permit provisions of several bills, and to regulate the use thereof.

the repeal of Aricle XXXIII (Business E Highway Commercial/Service Zone) (May 4 at 2:15 pm);

a zoning code revision to change the status of home occupations conducted in an accessory building from an “accessory use” to a “special permit use” (May 4 at 2:05 pm);

on the placement of stop signs on Palane South and Palane East in Baiting Hollow (May 4 at 2:35 pm).


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