Riverhead town officials have terminated an agreement between the town and a Manhattan consulting firm tasked with updating to the town’s comprehensive plan because of a lack of progress and other issues, officials said.
Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar told Newsday on Tuesday the town decided last week to terminate the agreement with AKRF Inc., environmental, planning and engineering consultants, to update the comprehensive plan. The proposal serves as a road map for future development in Riverhead.
The town board on Oct. 2, 2019, awarded a $675,000 request for proposal to the consulting firm to update the plan. The agreement required the firm to fulfill several milestones and objectives — including to do public outreach — over 18 months. A statement from Town Hall released June 24 said, although the COVID-19 pandemic may have delayed doing public outreach, planning staff and town officials had “grown increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of progress and shallow depth of study put forth by AKRF, to date.”
Aguiar said the board had expected the firm to have updated the document by the end of fall, but “they haven’t moved forward in that direction.”
“They were very slow in producing anything, and their actions recently has revealed substandard work,” Aguiar said.
The town will work on selecting a new firm to update the plan over the next several weeks, Aguiar said.
“It is vital that we have this comprehensive plan. It is our road map for the next 10 to 20 years and we’re going to do everything to ensure that it is completed as soon as possible,” Aguiar said.
Aguiar said AKRF had been paid about 50% of its $675,000.
A statement from an AKRF spokesman to Newsday said the firm was “very disappointed” by the town’s decision.
"We care deeply about our planning work for Long Island communities and stand by our responsiveness and the quality of our work. While we would prefer to complete this important work for the Town, we respect their decision to move in a different direction. We wish Riverhead success as they build on AKRF’s work and continue updating their 2003 Comprehensive Plan," the statement said.