A proposal by the Riverhead Town Board to require public hearings on preliminary site plans for commercial construction drew so much comment Tuesday that officials extended the period for written input to this Friday.
Site plans are reviewed by the town’s planning board. The town board proposed the hearings on site plans to ensure that the public would have a chance to comment in early stages of the process.
But attorney Peter Danowski said the proposal fails to include a deadline for the planning board to act, which could stall projects indefinitely.
And, while almost everyone who spoke said public input would be valuable, one speaker questioned just how much is needed when a property owner wants to build something that meets current zoning.
Another speaker asked if the written comment period should be expanded to include email and faxed responses, not just mailed letters.
But Supervisor Sean Walter said emails and faxes could get lost. All written responses are sent to the town clerk, he said, “and delivered by the United States Postal Service, and with a 44-cent stamp.”