File photo: Denise Civiletti

To the Editor:

Business applications are heading toward an expanding industrial bias for our town. Community groups and the Town Board do not appear to agree on acceptable companies for Riverhead. What are Riverhead’s residents and the board’s vision for the types of businesses that seek approval to operate a company in Riverhead?

Several examples under the town’s review are battery energy storage systems, logistics center (641,000 sq. ft.), proposed apartment building (165 apartments) that has an estimated 155 parking stalls (where is parking when a tenant has more than one car and guest parking?), and a food waste processing plant.

We already allowed solar panels because it’s renewable energy, but they displace the natural habitat, so we don’t need more.

And there is Triple Five’s proposal for 8.4 million square feet for a logistics and distribution center, and they are asking for tax breaks from Riverhead. If the company is financially sound, why do they need a tax break? Let’s remember: it’s a privilege to build in our town.

What are the reasons for considering these types of businesses? Are the reasons they add to our tax base and come to us for approval? When does the town plan to engage good companies that complement the East End’s natural beauty, farms, wineries, and existing businesses? Or is the town’s plan for companies who want to do business in Riverhead, “we will find a way to fit them into the town’s code?”

And where in the approval process do companies explain to the taxpayers the benefits in the same detail as their requests to operate in Riverhead? Also, at town meetings, it is the residents who present the negative impact a company can have on Riverhead. Shouldn’t the town have similar information for the residents before town meetings?

Do we need businesses that require endless compromises, zoning changes, and add more industrialization of Riverhead? The town could do a feasibility study of the types of companies that complement the North Fork and Riverhead’s existing attributes. We may find good companies for the board and residents to reach an agreement with additional information.

If residents and the board cannot agree on a justified fit, then isn’t leaving what exists, until a compromise between the board, and residents, for now, okay too?

Ernie Anderson


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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.