Artist's rendering of riverfront 'town square'. Image courtesy of Town of Riverhead

(Updated: Nov. 8) Riverhead Town residents are invited to take part in a community forum on the design of downtown Riverhead with the planning consultants the town recently hired to develop a “pattern book” for downtown.

Urban Design Associates will conduct the forum on Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Riverhead Human Resource/Senior Center, 60 Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue.

The forum be an opportunity for residents to take a direct role in deciding what future development in downtown Riverhead should look like by speaking with the planners and architects who will be creating the pattern book.

A pattern book presents graphical depictions of buildings, street layouts, architectural patterns, landscapes and public spaces that can be developed under an adopted zoning code.

“I encourage residents to attend and have their voices heard,”
Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said. “Community input is such an important aspect to development in our downtown, and it has been missing for too long. Whether the issues are walkability, transportation, or the character of the area – this public forum will be an opportunity to ensure that residents can have their say in the future in what is all of our downtown.”

Councilwoman Catherine Kent, who serves as liaison to the Downtown Revitalization Committee, which recommended creating a pattern book for downtown, said the community should get involved in the process. “We as a community get to decide what our downtown should look like, and I am asking that residents use their voices to be part of that discussion,” Kent said. “It is so important that residents attend and be heard.”

The planning consultants will develop design strategies around building consensus through a community planning process, the supervisor said. Decisions made about the pattern book will be informed by this forum, so community participation is key to the success of creating the pattern book, she said.

The town board was split on whether to proceed with the pattern book. It voted 3-2 in August to hire Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Urban Design Associates to complete the project at a proposed cost of $174,530.

Editor’s note: The supervisor’s office on Nov. 7 announced a change in the location of this meeting to the town’s Human Resource/Senior Center on Shade Tree Lane. It was originally scheduled to be held at town hall.

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Denise Civiletti
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.