File photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead Town is moving forward with installing security cameras in the Grangebel Park and Railroad Avenue areas downtown and the technology necessary at police headquarters to monitor the cameras’ video feed.

The town board yesterday authorized the expenditure of “community benefit funds” of $36,000 to add to the $160,379 in 2018 Community Development Block Grant funds allocated to the project by the town board in May. The community benefit funding allocated yesterday is a portion of a $1.05 million paid to the town by solar energy company sPower pursuant to an agreement authorized by the town in January.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said the town is waiting to hear from the vendor on a start date for the installation, but expects it will begin within about a month.

“It’s a good step forward in making people feel safe in downtown Riverhead,” Jens-Smith said.

Downtown security cameras have been discussed by the town board since at least 2013, but town officials said the funds were not available to allow the town to undertake the project.

LED street light replacement

Riverhead will replace street lamps with LED bulbs in a town wide project estimated to save taxpayers $250,000 per year in electricity costs.

The town will borrow the funds needed to pay for the lighting conversion. Yesterday the town board authorized the issuance of $1 million in five-year serial bonds. Even with payment of principal and interest on the bonds during the five-year period, the town will still save a net $20,000 per year based on its current electricity expenses, according to town officials.

Public hearings set

The town board yesterday set several public hearings for its Sept. 4 meeting, which is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

2:05 p.m.: A petition to extend the boundary of the Riverhead Sewer District to the property located at 1716 Old Country Road, the site of the former Out East Family Fun miniature golf and recreational facility, where Riverhead Dodge is planning to build a new auto dealership facility;

2:10 p.m.: An application for a special permit and site plan of J. Petrocelli Development Associates (see prior story) to renovate an existing building for spa/lounge and hotel uses, including the addition of an elevator tower and site improvements at 420 East Main Street and 117 Ostrander Avenue;

2:15 p.m.: Proposed local law to amend Chapter 241 of the Riverhead Town Code entitled, “Landmarks and Historic Districts. This proposal would revise procedures for the review of demolition and building permit applications and site plans affecting designated landmarks, structures proposed for designation and structures within designated historic districts.

2:15 p.m.: Proposed local law to amend Chapter 209 of the Riverhead Town Code entitled, “Architectural Review”. This proposal modifies the time limits for review by the Architectural Review Board.

2:15 p.m.: Proposed local law to amend Chapter 105, Article IX, entitled “Landmarks Preservation Commission.” This proposal would change the status of the Landmarks Preservation Commission from a board that has review and approval authority over alterations of designated landmarks or structures within historic districts to a board that is advisory to the town board.

2:15 p.m.: Proposed local law to amend Chapter 105, Article III, entitled “Architectural Review Board.” This proposal would revise the “powers and duties” section of the Architectural Review Board article in the code to clarify that the ARB is an advisory board reviewing applications at the request of the town board. It would also eliminate authorized “private meetings” between an applicant or its agent and a member of the ARB about the applicant’s proposal.

2:20 p.m.: Proposed local law to amend Chapter 301, Article LVI, “Site Plan Review.” This proposal provides for an automatic “abandonment” of a site plan application where an applicant fails to address comments issued by the planning board within six months, or where an applicant fails to revise and resubmit a preliminary site plan that is denied by the planning board within six months of the denial.

Special event permits granted

The town board yesterday approved the following special event permits:

Long Ireland Brewing Company, ”Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Party” on Saturday, Sept. 14;

Bold Media, “Holiday Light Show at Long Island Sports Park,” from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31;

Jamesport Fire Department, ”5K & 10K Run/Walk” on Sunday, Aug. 25;

Tanger Properties Limited Partnership, “Tanger Outlet Labor Day Weekend Block Party” on Saturday, Aug. 31;

Garden of Eve, “Long Island Garlic Festival” on Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15;

Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, “22nd Annual 5K Run for the Ridley” on Saturday, Oct. 26;

Railroad Museum of Long Island, “Wooden Toy Train Play Days 2019” on Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13;

Chicken Kidz, “Children’s Retail Consignment Event” from Oct. 2 through Oct. 6;

Fireworks permits approved

Baiting Hollow Club, Saturday, Aug. 24;

Famous Food Festival, Saturday, Aug. 10;

Richard Baker, Baker family private residence, Saturday, Aug. 17.

Town personnel changes

The town filled vacancies in the water district superintendent’s position and the senior building inspector position. (See separate story.)

Purchasing agent Mary Ann Tague has retired effective July 29, after 30 years as a town employee.

The town hired a new town board coordinator and an office assistant for the engineering department. (See separate story.)

Employee of the quarter: Sean McCabe

Longtime town employee Sean McCabe (fifth from left, above), who works in the Riverhead Sewer District, was honored by the town’s Labor-Management Committee as employee of the quarter for the second quarter of 2019.

Sewer District Superintendent Michael Reichel said McCabe is a stellar employee who is always willing to help others and always goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the town’s wastewater treatment plant is functioning properly.

In addition to his many years of service in town government, McCabe is a member and ex-chief of the Jamesport Fire Department.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.