Renaissance Downtown's redevelopment plan for Riverside is a project of regional significance mentioned by the county

The future of Riverside hangs in the balance and the owners of one 20-acre parcel the town needs to build the sewage plant critical to the hamlet’s revitalization plan aren’t negotiating, according to Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association president Vincent Taldone.

The FRNCA board on Monday night authorized a letter to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman urging him to initiate eminent domain procedures to acquire title to the site.

The eminent domain authority under state law allows a municipality to acquire title to private property through a condemnation procedure.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said Tuesday he was unaware of the need to acquire additional parcels of property to make the sewage treatment plant feasible.

“We’ve acquired additional land for easements, et cetera,” Schneiderman said in a phone interview Tuesday.

“No one has brought this to my attention,” Schneiderman said.

The supervisor said he is “not a big fan” of condemnation. He also noted that the town would not be able to use Community Preservation Fund money in a condemnation proceeding. “The CPF requires a willing seller,” Schneiderman said.

The supervisor said “things are moving in a positive direction” for Riverside. Using eminent domain to make things move forward is not likely, Schneiderman said.

Plans for the sewage treatment plant call for “constructed wetlands” to act as a recharge area for liquid effluent.

Taldone said Monday night Southampton needs to acquire land for the constructed wetlands, and other than the parcel on the north side of Flanders Road, properties the town could buy are all in the Pine Barrens compatible growth area. They present additional complications for the sewage treatment plant recharge area, he said.

The owner of the 20-acre site on the north side of Flanders Road, is an estate, Taldone said. Representatives of the family involved have not responded to inquiries from the town or master developer Riverside Rediscovered or FRNCA, Taldone said.

The Riverside revitalization action plan, adopted by the Town of Southampton in 2015, depends on the construction of a sewage treatment plant to handle wastewater from new development in the area.

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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.