Our quality of life should be maintained. Hard work now will reap benefits towards a viable future for Riverhead.
On Our Water District – We should fight against county acquisition of our water district. This issue lies in waiting behind the Supervisor’s back doors, without transparency or disclosure to the public. The potential acquisition by the county should be exposed and addressed in an open forum enabling transparency to prevail for the good of all Riverhead residents. We must make every effort to fight against county acquisition. The Riverhead Water District is Riverhead’s BIGGEST income generating asset. Riverhead has the best and purest water in the entire county due to the existence of our aquifer. Once the water district is acquired by the county, there is no guarantee we will ever receive the timely water supply we currently have. In the past, Suffolk County has experienced water supply deficiency problems. Furthermore, of concern is the possibility, the county will send our water outward to other towns without compensation and substantially increase the cost of water we receive. A more practical solution is to maintain our most valuable asset and sell our water to Suffolk County.
Riverhead local (7/18/2019) Future of Riverhead Water District becomes a political campaign issue
On Our Police – Collectively, we need to maintain control of our police department. We must prevent county acquisition. At the present moment, there is a concerted effort by the county to take control of our police department. Should the county succeed, we can anticipate:
· Response time will increase
· Crime rates will increase
· The quality of patrol services will decrease
· The quality of our investigations will be decrease
· Members of the police force who reside in our town will decrease
We need viable public-private partnerships, which in turn will transcend into economic prosperity for our Town. Especially, the property owners and to enhance our Town’s future cohesively. In public-business management, the mantra is “effective management skills are necessary to accomplish goals, while protecting all the people it serves.” We need our community to have faith in our Town Supervisor to possess the ability to effectively manage and move our Town forward, not publicity driven drama with a false sense of transparency.
Downtown Revitalization and Route 58 Corridor
We need a cohesive plan to move our Town forward. Our revitalization efforts have been stalled for one and a half years. We need our community to have faith in our ability to manage and move our government forward. We should concentrate on creating open spaces, creating new expanded child friendly parks, exposing the riverfront to Main Street and apportioning larger old retail locations into smaller rentable spaces. This approach will garner a desirable welcoming quaint hometown charm.
Once an effective development plan is developed, we should expedite approvals and reduce fees to further fortify our goals effectively. Planning to move our Town forward is possible with the right management team in place. However, you need a leader who has the desire to act and make decisions. This approach will also entice the right developers for our Town and reap the fruits of good and effective government. We need to be progressing towards setting our goals and objectives for our town in a cohesive manner. Many of our communities around us thriving. Why? Simple, they have a business and resident friendly Town. We have the infrastructure in place, the desire of businesses to work with our community and the ability to change zoning. Change can happen now!
What we need is a pragmatic, panoramic view of the issues at hand. Our sitting supervisor toggles from subject to subject identifying her accomplishments. The first half of the speech tallied her accomplishments. For example, the town supervisor claimed to have put the water district “back on track.” I beg to differ, as evidenced by prior town meetings. The initiative was led by Councilman Tim Hubbard, Councilman Jim Wooten and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who forced the water district capital plan forward. Our water district is one of our biggest income-generating assets. We need to maintain control.
More specifically, the supervisor claims she wants to redevelop downtown. I would recommend our town supervisor focus on getting our zoning issues resolved first. In addition, the Downtown Revitalization Committee created one year ago has not made viable recommendations. Why?
Meanwhile, developers are scratching their heads trying to figure out what they can, cannot build and some have recently decided to look elsewhere. Lack of predictability in zoning and a difficult process is counterproductive for revitalization. Instead we should be working with developers to settle on what can be built and the creation of a viable revitalization plan. In a good economy our downtown redevelopment should be vibrant and moving forward. Clearly, it’s has been stalled in Riverhead.
Furthermore, to make things more frustrating, most building permit fees are proposed to go up substantially. Sadly, resulting in huge ramifications on homeowners. The master plan left many lots in Wading River, Reeves Park in Riverhead and properties in South Jamesport as non-conforming. This would mean, every shed, deck or small house addition our residents build could cost twice the amount than the current fees. The solution to this problem could be easily fixed in the zoning code and not by shifting the weight on the taxpayers. We may also consider implementing lower building costs to entice revitalization efforts.
Another achievement the supervisor claimed is her ability to manage the budget. However, it is critical we look at our town’s crumbling infrastructure (court, vehicles, etc.). We need to maintain control of our water district and police department, while working on revitalizing Main Street. At the present time, while publicly denied by our town supervisor, I believe there is a concerted effort by the county to acquire these two service entities. Once we lose our autonomy, the character and independence of our beautiful town will be lost forever.
While most of the goals seem admirable, no matter what they are, in order to accomplish those goals, a leader needs to be business-minded, organized, methodical and possess leadership skills. EPCAL is an extremely complex property. I ask, what is the supervisor’s plan should legal determination reveal we have to close on the deal? What is the plan if Triple 555 doesn’t move forward (rescission)? Do we have contingency plans? Furthermore, where is the marketing plan for the property should we or Triple 555 reject the contract based on external legal opinion?
While I agree a fresh look at our master plan is necessary, the effort should be completed on a continuous basis in small increments. Small, targeted plans for different areas is a great approach. Addressing the issues with non-conforming lots from the last master plan revision is a good start. Bear in mind, this initiative is no small endeavor, will likely cost several hundred thousands of dollars and in all likelihood take approximately two years to complete.
I have plans for success in downtown redevelopment by implementing an incentive zoning plan. This would give developers an expedited (consolidated review) development process for conforming projects that are aesthetically pleasing and strategically located, with open views to the Peconic River – more green space! New zoning can also work for Route 58 and what I anticipate will be many more upcoming vacancies.
As a former detective sergeant in the NYPD counter terrorism division, I know how to use the criminal justice and civil court venues to achieve compliance with the law. As a real estate agent with a PhD in business, I know the intricacies between property sales and acquisition. Lastly, overcrowded housing (which also impacts our school district) should be a priority.
It’s enlightening to hear the supervisor’s talk about how great Riverhead can be. Good ideas need an action plan, interpersonal skills and management ability to achieve positive outcomes. What we need is a leader with a proven track record of getting things done. I plan to make Riverhead all that it can be. It’s time to put a real business-minded leader in the driver’s seat.
We need public-private partnerships, which in turn will transcend into a win-win for our town. Especially, the property owners and for the prosperity of our Town’s future. In doing so, we will effectively move our town forward cohesively. In business, the mantra is “effective management skills are necessary to accomplish goals.” Bickering and tit-for-tat politics needs to be the way of the past. It would not work in business and it most certainly does not belong in our town Hall.
Yvette Aguiar is the Republican candidate for town supervisor. She lives in Riverhead.