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Town Hall Notes: Town Working Toward Preserving 9/11 Park

Also, supervisor and town board agree to sit down at an upcoming work session to discuss the Wading River corridor study with interested parties.

As Suffolk County lawmakers continue to examine , Riverhead Town is working toward doing its part to preserve a 4.1-acre parcel on the corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue that, if preserved, would become home to a 9/11 memorial park.

The parcel - marking the entrance to Reeves Park - currently holds a , and a hamlet park is proposed for the parcel, should the purchase go through.

Kelly's older brother, Bob, was the only person to speak at a public hearing at Tuesday's town board meeting on a five year, $50,000 agreement between the town and Suffolk County in preserving the park. 

"You guys know how I feel about this," said Kelly, who has . "You couldn't pick a nicer place to have a memorial."

An agreement with the town of Riverhead to steward the management of the property was one of several indicators that gave the plot a relatively high score on the county's rating system for preserving parcels. Previously, in order for a parcel to be preserved as a hamlet park, a score of 25 was necessary to ask for legislature approval.

The parcel earned a score of 55, and while property owner Kenn Barra has  - the large majority of which Suffolk County would pay - legislators have decided to revisit its preservation evaluation system for the next two months in the face of fewer open space dollars.

A public comment period on the town's decision to enter into the five-year management of the property remains open for another 10 days, followed by a town board vote.

Town Board Agrees to Sit With Civics, Planners, and Developers Over Wading River Study

Saying it "might be the first time in my life I've ever asked government to slow down," Richard Amper - the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society and Lake Panamoka resident in Wading River - asked the town board to step back and sit down with some interested parties before deciding whether or not to accept the

"I don't think our views and vision are all that different," he said. "We just haven't reconciled it yet." 

BFJ presented their amended plans on Feb. 23, following a Feb. 4 .

About the plans, preservationists have argued that more development - multifamily professional, or retail, though mostly retail - threatens the rural character of the hamlet. Property owners have argued that they own the right to develop their land as they wish.

Just last week, a majority of town board members decided that - on a parcel that currently is subject to a 50,000-square-foot site plan.

Supervisor Sean Walter and the town board agreed to meet with Amper, members of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, planner Frank Fish of BFJ Planning, and property owners whose parcels are affected by the study. The groups are tentatively scheduled to meet at the March 22 work session.

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