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Riverhead officials to vote on resolution to set new deadline for filing special-events permits

Representatives of several groups complained at a recent meeting about the new timetables that went into effect Feb. 18. 

Riverhead Town officials said they mailed all groups

Riverhead Town officials said they mailed all groups that have previously held special events in town notice that the rules had been changed. Photo Credit: Newsday/Erin Geismar

Riverhead officials are considering changing the effective date of a law on the filing deadline for special-events permits.

The move comes after the organizers behind Chicken Kidz — an annual children’s consignment event for families to be held April 4-7 at the Riverhead Polish Hall — were told in late February that they were too late to file their application.

Under the law, which went into effect Feb. 18, special-event applications must be filed at least 90 days before the scheduled event. For events drawing 750  to 2,500 people, organizers must file their application 120 days beforehand. And for events expected to draw 2,501 to 5,000 or more attendees, applications must be submitted 270 days beforehand.

Susan Biegner, the founder of Chicken Kidz, said she lives in Medford and had no way of knowing Riverhead had changed its special-events regulations.

“I have no problem with the new application process,” said Biegner, 48. “But when you make such large changes, there needs to be a transition period so that people can wrap their head around it.”

Town officials said they mailed a notice that the rules had been changed to Biegner and all groups that have previously held special events in town. Biegner said she never received that notice.

The Riverhead Town Board adopted the new regulations Dec. 18 to ease safety and financial issues that  arise when special events — such as parades or assemblies on sidewalks, streets and other public places in Riverhead —  are filed with short notice.

“Our fire marshal and the people who work for our town have to get out there and inspect things to make sure no one is going to get hurt,” Councilwoman Catherine Kent said at the board’s special meeting March 14.

Several other groups complained about the rules at the meeting.

“I find this whole ruling to be pretty irresponsible and pretty inconsiderate to the people who spend at least a year putting on events,” said Eric Arshravan, co-owner of The Famous Food Festival, which each July hosts a caravan of food trucks at Tanger Outlets.

The board scheduled a public meeting April 2 to vote on a resolution that, if passed,  would push the law's effective date to  around June.

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