Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith Shares Her Vision for Riverhead’s Future at LIMBA Meeting
Laura Jens-Smith (second from left), Supervisor, Town of Riverhead, spoke on the topic “Designing the Future of Riverhead” at the LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) meeting, which was held on March 9 at the Courtyard Marriott in Ronkonkoma. Also pictured (left to right): Ernie Fazio, Chairman, LIMBA; Bill Miller, Treasurer, LIMBA; Ken Nevor, Member, LIMBA; and Bryan Van Cott, Patrick Fife and Reza Ebrahimi, Partners, Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo LLP, the event’s sponsor.
On March 9, Laura Jens-Smith, Supervisor, Town of Riverhead, was the guest speaker at the LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) meeting, which took place at the Courtyard Marriott in Ronkonkoma. She discussed the topic “Designing the Future of Riverhead,” which covered the revitalization of the downtown, attracting new businesses to the area and protecting farmlands and waterways.
Ms. Jens-Smith spoke of the need for Riverhead to preserve its rural character. She said farmland has given way to residential development and is looking to preserve more open space by increasing transfers of development rights, in which the right to develop upon these agricultural areas would be transferred in exchange for allowing increased density on less sensitive property. In addition, she said she is seeking solutions to make farming more profitable so that the next generations of farmers can stay in Riverhead.
As more houses are being built, Ms. Jens-Smith said, there are concerns regarding new construction. Those include an increase in nitrogen loads in the local waterways as buildout continues and rising sales prices, which are preventing younger people from buying a home. In an effort to attract them to Riverhead, she is implementing a revitalization program in the downtown area which is modeled after the Villages of Patchogue and Greenport. This includes creating an arts district and providing affordable housing, with special preference given to artists.
In addition, Ms. Jens-Smith plans to rezone the downtown area so that newly constructed buildings are consistent with the character of the town. Other plans include establishing a “hub and spoke” transportation system which can bring visitors to and from the area, as well as bringing Long Island Rail Road service back to Riverhead.
Noting that Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) has still not been developed yet, Ms. Jens-Smith emphasized that only industrial uses — not residential uses — will be developed upon the EPCAL property. She is currently working with various companies to bring good-paying jobs to the town.
For more information, or for a list of upcoming events, call (631) 757-1698 or visit www.limba.net.
Since 1968, LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) has been Long Island’s catalyst for economic investment and improvement, sponsoring lively breakfast forums featuring Long Island business activists and government officials. Its mission is to promote and address issues that affect the quality of life on Long Island. For more information, call (631) 757-1698 or visit www.limba.net.