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Riverhead weighs assisted-living zoning change

Riverhead Town agreed to pay $350,000 to settle

Riverhead Town agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a federal lawsuit filed in 1996 by Anthony Wayne Smith, who charged that he was falsely arrested at a bus stop, that two police officers used unreasonable force in his arrest, and that he was remanded for psychiatric testing without cause. (March 22, 2011) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

At a public hearing Tuesday night on Riverhead’s proposed zoning change to ease development for assisted-living housing, many speakers said they had relocated relatives to other communities that have such facilities.

At the hearing, during the town board meeting, Supervisor Sean Walter and other members of the town board, as well as several speakers, said that despite its sizable senior citizen population, the town lacks such housing developments.

The code would allow for higher density in assisted-living developments.

Among the concerns was one about language in the proposed code that would make it difficult to monitor how many homes built in such zones would be non-assisted living units. Town officials said regulations would require that 30 percent be assisted-living units.

Walter said a working committee of interested parties, including members of the ambulance corps and developers such as Ronald DeVito, of Concordia Senior Communities, would be formed to study the issue. The demand such facilities place on the volunteer ambulance corps is high, said Walter, and needs to be considered in the plan.

DeVito said he hopes to build an “enriched housing” adult-care community on Mill Road behind Route 58 with 50 or 60 attached independent living homes and 24 to 30 assisted-living units. DeVito said that combination would allow him to charge less for the staff-intensive assisted-living apartments.

Also at Tuesday’s town board meeting, the board:
-- Commended Police Officer Timothy Murphy as the town’s 2010 “Top Cop” awardee. Murphy has ranked among the highest in total DWI arrests over the past 5 years in both the town and county;
-- Accepted letters from residents requesting a moratorium on building on the Wading River business corridor along Route 25A;
-- Held a public hearing to consider amending laws regarding construction of town-owned buildings and adherence to green building standards;
-- Adopted the following resolutions: a Stotzky Park improvement budget; the extension of a bid contract for well-and-pump testing at Riverhead Water District; the appointments of various town committee and boards; an agreement with Suffolk County Police Athletic League for referee/umpire services for the town’s PAL boys and girls lacrosse;
-- Directed resident George Atkinson to remove all debris from property on Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead;
-- Passed a resolution for proposals for reuse and revitalization of the former Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant;
-- Passed a resolution to post public notices changing a portion of Horton Avenue in Riverhead to McCaffrey Court due to new traffic pattern configuration.
-- Passed a resolution designating April 30 as Riverhead Litter Awareness and Cleanup Day.


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