The Riverhead Town Board scheduled its first public hearing since the COVID crisis shuttered town hall in March. The board has scheduled a public hearing on July 7 at 2 p.m. on a proposed local law that would ban helicopters, seaplanes and amphibious aircraft from taking off or landing on or from the waters, beaches or on any land within the Town of Riverhead. It would exempt airfields owned by the Town of Riverhead and/or the Town of Riverhead Community Development Agency, as well as aircraft used in medical, police or military emergencies and operations involving public health and safety. It also exempts aircraft used in agricultural production.

It is not yet known whether town hall will be open to the public by the date of the hearing and whether public attendance and in-person testimony will be allowed at the July 7 meeting.

As discussed last week, the board adopted the outdoor dining plan developed to allow restaurants to use outdoor spaces to increase capacity once they are allowed by the state to reopen. Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that restaurants will be allowed to open with outdoor dining only in Phase Two of the New York Forward reopening plan. Inside dining will not be permitted until Phase Three and then only at 50% of a premises’ rated occupancy. Riverhead’s new outdoor dining rules will be in place through December.

Here’s a rundown of other significant actions taken by the Riverhead Town Board at its June 2 meeting.

The town has agreed to opt into a countywide e-filing system for tax grievances this year. The board authorized the supervisor to sign a memorandum of understanding to implement the new protocols. The deadline for filing grievances has been pushed back to June 30 due to the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, visit the town website.

The board approved a special permit for a car wash on the corner of Route 58 and Pulaski Street extension. The permit was approved in a 4-1 vote with Supervisor Yvette Aguiar dissenting. Aguiar said she was not happy with the traffic study done for the proposal.

The board agreed to terminate a license agreement with Kiddie Fit, which had occupied a portion of the town-owned building at 165 Columbus Avenue as a day care center. Its operation was shut down as a result of the COVID outbreak and Kiddie Fit’s owner requested termination of the agreement. The board also agreed to defer payment of the monthly payments required under the license agreement for April and May and accept the outstanding amount due in six equal monthly installments commencing Dec. 1.

The board on Tuesday also agreed to grant a waiver of monthly fees due from Day Haven, which also occupies the building at 165 Columbus Avenue, from April until Day Haven resumes its operation or provides the town with a notice to terminate the license agreement. The board also agreed to defer payment of February and March rents until June 1, 2021 with repayment in six equal monthly installments beginning in June 2021.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

  • ratified the reinstatement of former town engineer Kenneth Testa as assistant town engineer at an annual salary of $101,408, effective May 13. Testa has been working in that position on a temporary basis since October;
  • ratified the appointment of Andreas Sofoklis to the position of senior building inspector effective May 11, at an annual salary $94,806.55;
  • changed the status of part-time police officers Rachel Doroski and Joseph Trivelli to seasonal police officers at no change to their hourly rate of pay;
  • appointed student intern Michael Herald to the position of part-time fire prevention inspector effective June 3 at the hourly rate of $17.

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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.