Yvette Aguiar, Republican incumbent candidate for Riverhead Town supervisor, seeks another...

Yvette Aguiar, Republican incumbent candidate for Riverhead Town supervisor, seeks another term to complete key development projects. Credit: James Escher

Two months into Yvette Aguiar's first term as town supervisor, the emerging coronavirus pandemic upended her revitalization plans for Riverhead. Now as normalcy begins to return, the Republican incumbent seeks another term to complete key development projects such as Town Square, which involves demolishing two decrepit buildings and renovating another on Main Street to provide pedestrian access to the Peconic River.

Her other priority is to accelerate efforts to fix up the shabby area around the Long Island Rail Road station for which Aguiar is seeking a $10 million state grant, while also building more housing nearby to encourage commuter use of public transit.

Catherine A. Kent, 65, the lone Democrat on the town council and a retired Riverhead teacher from Baiting Hollow, has worked diligently with the town’s Downtown Revitalization Committee. A frequent critic of Aguiar, Kent notes the installation of security cameras in the business district is not complete, saying many which would provide 24/7 images to police are still in boxes.

Kent also claims that the supervisor is slow in tracking approval of what is known as the Pattern Book plan which would require new construction to adhere to specific historic details and design, while fast-tracking other developments to avoid adherence to the new guidelines, especially when it comes to five-story height restrictions.

Both candidates agree that constant vehicle traffic due to an increase in agritourism in this Twin Forks gateway is detrimental to residents. Kent wants the LIRR to run scooter trains frequently between Riverhead and Greenport with bike rentals available at the stations. Aguiar, 62, of Riverhead, says she is working with a regional task force, which includes the LIRR, county police and Southold Town, to mitigate traffic at major choke points.

Aguiar and Kent are both frustrated with the lack of progress on the sale of the former U.S. Navy property known as Enterprise Park at Calverton. But Aguiar is concerned that walking away from a 2018 contract could cost the town millions and wants to give the purchasers more time. Kent wants financial statements from the Triple Five Group and would be ready to walk away if they are not provided.

Their starkest disagreement is on the commercial sale of marijuana, with the town board voting 3-2 in July not to opt out of a state law permitting retail sale and consumption sites. Aguiar is against such sales but Kent believes the town should start by allowing them in limited areas. Aguiar should reconsider her approach.

Aguiar has earned another term to complete her revitalization agenda.

Newsday endorses Aguiar.

ENDORSEMENTS ARE DETERMINED solely by the Newsday editorial board, a team of opinion journalists focused on issues of public policy and governance. Newsday’s news division has no role in this process.