Pictured Above: The site of a proposed shooting range on Elton Street in Riverhead.

An Open Letter to the Riverhead Town Board

July 31, 2022

Dear Ms. Aguiar, Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Rothwell, Mr. Beyrodt, Mr. Kern and Mr. Howard,

On June 21st, at the Board’s invitation, dozens took the time to attend a Public Hearing concerning zoning for the sale and use of firearms within Riverhead Township. The term “Public Hearing” implies an interest in gathering resident input, as it was understood that Mr. Howard’s and Ms. Thomas’ initial revision might require some fine tuning.  After many citizens spoke and wrote letters, we would expect our Town Board to be giving careful consideration to the suggestions, perspectives, and concerns as they worked on the zoning revision that would best serve our community.

However, when asked about the revision status at the July 6th Town Board meeting, Supervisor Aguiar’s response, “You can have a public hearing to hear from the public, but that doesn’t mean you have to act on it” was as disappointing as it was disturbing.

While we are encouraged by Councilman Hubbard’s comments at the July 19th Town Board meeting regarding the importance of this zoning code revision, we would expect his fellow Board members to also recognize the importance of having restrictions in place.   

One only need look at the fast-tracked Cannabis Advisory Board to see that the Town Board can quickly determine a need and move forward gathering community consensus when they feel resident safety is at issue. Now, with the details of recreational cannabis sales & use agreed upon, the majority of Board Members recently acknowledged this committee’s success.

Given that we now have a blueprint on gathering expedient and effective community consensus, and to address zoning restrictions pertaining to public safety, we would expect the Town Board and Town Attorney’s office to recognize the similar need for acceptable zoning parameters for the distribution and use of firearms in Riverhead Township.  

We implore you to move forward on these important revisions and encourage you to begin with assembling a Firearms Advisory Committee of local residents with no vested interest, while implementing a moratorium until the revision is completed.  Any of the undersigned would be honored to be part of shaping this critically important zoning in the interest, and for the greater good, of Riverhead.

We will look forward to your response. Thank you for your consideration and for all you do for our town.  

Respectfully,

Heart of Riverhead Civic Association
Wading River Civic Association
Greater Jamesport Civic Association
The Board of Trustees of the Northville Beach Civic Association
Toqui S. Terchun, Calverton
Steve Gessler, Calverton
Janice Sherer, Calverton
Pat Aitken, Calverton
Karen Kemp, Calverton
Linda Nemeth, Calverton
Joe Graziano, Calverton
Kathleen Madonia, Calverton
Steve Mandresh, Baiting Hollow
John Cullen, Northville
Kathleen McGraw, Northville
Lorraine DeArmitt, Riverhead
Carol Denys, Riverhead
Mitch Hagler, Riverhead
Steven Kramer, Riverhead

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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