Somehow the East End managed to not fall into the ocean due to the weight of the traffic it saw over the Fourth of July weekend, and our governments are back at work once again, making laws and fixing things so we can all enjoy our hometowns. Here’s a look at what’s ahead:
It’s been 15 years since the U.S. Navy turned the 2,300 acre former Grumman plant property in Calverton over to Riverhead Town, and the town is still trying to decide what to do with the place. Bright ideas for the property that have since been nixed have included an indoor ski slope and an indoor water park. Those plans fell through, to the delight of environmental groups, who say the whole place is really for the birds.
On July 16 at 7:30 p.m., the Riverhead Town Board will hold a public scoping session on the following scintillating-sounding topic: “The Draft Scope for the Draft Suppplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement supporting the proposed action, to wit: the creation of a conceptual development plan (Reuse & Reviatlization Plan) including subdivision of the EPCAL property into 50 lots for ultimate redevelopment with a mix of uses and the retention of substantial open space.”
In English, the town wants YOUR feedback on its environmental review of the possibility of allowing 50 commercial and retail businesses, industrial, residential, recreation and utility uses at EPCAL.
Among the possibilities they consider are a “multi-modal freight village,” which is a fancy way of saying a big area where trucks and trains can drop off and pick up heavy stuff, an agri-business/food processing plant, which is, in part, a fancy way of saying a “mobile slaughterhouse,” a high tech business, green technology, research park, which is what it sounds like it is, and which already exists at the Stony Brook Incubator at EPCAL, and “mixed-use planned development,” which could be just about anything, as long as it’s planned.
The town spent several millions of dollars of federal stimulus grant money fixing up an old rail spur to EPCAL two years ago as the first step in its freight village conceptualization, but Tim Gannon of the Riverhead News-Review reported last week that only one business is using the rail spur so far.
The development plan also calls for 787 acres of existing woodland and 735 acres of the grassland at EPCAL to be preserved as habitat for short-eared owls, northern harriers and the upland sandpiper. The grassland habitat creation has been a cause célébre of environmental groups in recent years.
Here’s the document they’ll be talking about. It’s very blurry if you open it in your browser, but if you download it as a PDF it’s much easier to read. That’s just the way it is in Riverhead. Deal with it.
Southold Town is taking their town government show on the road this summer, with a series of extra meetings throughout town in June and July to try to garner public feedback on the work the town board is doing.
Tonight at 6 p.m., the town board will be at the Floyd Memorial Library in Greenport to “provide individuals an opportunity to informally speak with the town board about any topic they wish.” So, speak up!
Southold’s plan to zone Plum Island will again be up for public hearing at the town board’s Aug. 13 meeting at town hall at 4:30 p.m. The town has been holding public hearings on the zoning proposal, which would allow only conservation, a research campus and ferry facilities on the island, since May.
If the town zones the island for these uses, it would preclude any potential purchaser of the island from building residential developments or condos there.
Southampton Town is finally buying asphalt for its Noyac traffic calming project, which would widen and install medians on Noyac Road at the notoriously dangerous, curvy stretch near The Whalebone and Cromers Market, at a cost of just over half a million dollars.
The town has been studying methods of calming traffic on Noyac Road for the better part of a decade.
Southampton is also preparing for a marathon of public hearings on August 13, beginning at 1 p.m., on everything from land acquisition to derelict properties to improving water mains in Hampton Bays. But perhaps the most exciting of those hearings will be on a bill designed to protect cemeteries. The bill would prohibit graffiti, litter, domestic animals and recreation, including the popular recreational activity of “gravestone rubbings” in graveyards. It would also prohibit people from hanging out in graveyards between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
More information on the other hearings is available on today’s town board agenda. The Beacon will have even more information as the time draws nigh. Bet you can’t wait.
Sanitation helper Phillip Milo will also get his wish to retire from the municipal works department. The Beacon hopes he enjoys his retirement!
East Hampton Town
East Hampton Town is holding their monthly Montauk work session today. In keeping with a practice instituted when current town supervisor Bill Wilkinson took office in 2010, no agenda is available before the work session meeting, making it impossible for people to know in advance whether issues they care about are going to be discussed.
Doubtless the board will discuss the Shark Attack Weekend party held at the Montauk Yacht Club on Friday. There was constant hubbub at town hall in the week leading up to the party after the town board realized the original parking area proposed for the party was on land whose development rights were preserved through the Community Preservation Fund. If any of you are shocked that East Hampton is confused about how the CPF program should be used, please send the Beacon a private message asking for the terms to purchase our bridge in Brooklyn.
Luckily for all of us, town TV station LTV videotapes the meetings, which are available shortly after the meeting through their video on demand service. If you’re in the mood for watching the ongoing painfully partisan tension on the board, the video of the special meeting June 3 addressing the the Shark Attack issue, available here (you may need to register with LTV to view the video), is particularly painful.
Apparently, the Shark Attack party didn’t take a big bite out of Montauk. Police chief Ed Ecker told East Hampton Patch’s Taylor Vecsey yesterday that the party only received one noise violation and people left early because the music had to be turned off at 11 p.m.