Riverhead Town will hold a public workshop on its Comprehensive Plan Update on Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the new Town Hall at 4 West Second Street (in Riverhead).

A recording of the presentation will also be posted on the Comp Plan website for those that are unable to attend in person.

According to the town, “the meeting will provide an opportunity for residents, business owners, property owners and other interested parties to share their ideas and comment on draft goals and recommendations for the plan…. Community engagement is an essential component of the planning process. Feedback received will help guide the direction of the plan, ensuring it reflects the values and aspirations of the Riverhead community as a whole. The purpose of this meeting is to test draft recommendations with the public before the draft document is presented to the public. There will be subsequent public hearings before the plan is considered for adoption.”

Noah Levine of BFJ Planning, which was hired to finish the comprehensive plan in December of 2022 after the town’s prior consultants missed deadlines for their preparation of the comprehensive plan, gave a Sept. 14 presentation on some of the proposed changes to the Riverhead Town Board.

Mr. Levine suggested increasing the setback from the street in Industrial A zoning districts, to reduce visual impact from the street, and allowing an increase in height of industrial buildings from 30 to 40 feet, while converting some industrial districts to “light industrial districts” to allow “more transitional uses that are more compatible with the commercial and residential context they are in.”

He also suggested the town broaden its transfer of development rights (TDR) program, in which development rights on farmland and open space are purchased by developers, allowing them more density in appropriate areas for development, to encourage more multi-family and senior housing to “adapt to a changing market.”

Mr. Levine said his firm hopes to have a final Comprehensive Plan document and industrial zone change recommendations prepared by late March or early April, after which it will be the subject of formal public hearings.

Comprehensive Plans are considered official, long-range ‘blueprints’ for the future of municipalities, detailing the community’s vision for the future and guiding it on issues including economic development, farmland preservation and the agricultural economy, housing, revitalization of Main Street and Hamlet centers, transportation, sustainable development, climate resiliency, and natural resource preservation and water quality.

Perhaps most importantly, they serve as the legal basis for zoning changes to guide future development.

For more information, meeting notices and updates on Riverhead’s Comprehensive Plan, visit townofriverheadcomprehensiveplanupdate.com. Comments can be sent to compplan@townofriverheadny.gov.

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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