Riverhead Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard gave his first State of...

 Riverhead Town Supervisor Tim Hubbard gave his first State of the Town address on Tuesday. Credit: Tom Lambui

Riverhead Supervisor Tim Hubbard took aim Tuesday at Southampton Town's revitalization plans for Riverside, saying construction of a sewage treatment plant in the hamlet could lead to residential development that would funnel more students into Riverhead's schools and drain other municipal resources.

Hubbard, who took office in January, said during his first State of the Town address he had "made it clear" to Southampton officials that their plan to revitalize the hamlet across the Peconic River with up to 2,300 housing units would "place an unfair burden on services" in Riverhead.

The supervisor listed Riverhead library, ambulance, parks and recreation services as examples.

 A 2015 Riverside Revitalization Action Plan projected 2,300 new housing units could be built in the hamlet, half of which could be affordable apartments. Redevelopment of the Riverside area hinges on a new sewage treatment plant that Southampton officials have said is the key to spurring development.

In 2022, the median household income for Riverside was $56,429, compared with a county average of $119,838, according to the latest U.S. Census figures.

On Tuesday, Southampton's town board voted 5-0 to finalize the environmental review for construction of the sewage treatment plant — a key step in the advancement of the project. Funding for the $35.5 million project is in place.

“Congratulations to the people of Riverside,” Southampton Councilman Michael Iasilli said after the vote.

But Hubbard added during his speech that he is urging Southampton to consider building senior housing as part of its revitalization effort in order to reduce the impact on Riverhead schools. The Riverhead supervisor also said he is “adamant” that Southampton's sewer district include the County Center and Correctional Facility, which currently use Riverhead’s sewer treatment plant.

Southampton Supervisor Maria Moore said at that town's meeting Tuesday that board members plan to meet Friday with Riverhead officials.

“We have repeatedly said we would consider the sewer expansion to include the County Center and the jail in future phases,” Moore added.

But Hubbard told his constituents during his speech that Southampton officials "have not cooperated or shown any good faith effort to meet and consider our request."

Riverhead's supervisor added: "This leaves us little choice but to pursue legal action designed to protect the interests of our town and taxpayers. Stay tuned."

Hubbard also focused on town projects, upgrades and finances during his address. He said Riverhead has $6 million in surplus funds from 2023, which may partially fund the construction of a town square downtown or designs for a new town court.

The supervisor said designs are being finalized for a playground and amphitheater in the town square, as well as a new parking garage.  

Hubbard added in his address that he expects a mixed-use development near the Riverhead Long Island Rail Road station that will include businesses and 32 condos to break ground in the next year. Priorities for the rest of the year include adopting the comprehensive plan, Hubbard added.  

But his speech offered little insight on the Enterprise Park at Calverton property. Calverton Aviation & Technology is suing Riverhead after the town backed out of a $40 million deal to sell the company 1,600 acres at the site.

Hubbard said he's been meeting with a “small, informal” group of residents and town employees about the site's future.

John McAuliff, coordinator of the community coalition EPCAL Watch, said the process should be more “visible” to the public.

With Joe Werkmeister

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