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Riverhead (Town of) Planning Department and County of Suffolk Department of Planning

October 22, 2008

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
NOTICE OF COMBINED PUBLIC HEARINGS

Applicants: Town of Riverhead Planning Department
200 Howell Avenue
Riverhead, New York 11901
Attn.: Rick Hanley, Director

County of Suffolk
Department of Planning
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, New York 11788
Attn: James Bagg, Chief Environmental Analyst

Town of Riverhead Proposal: The Town of Riverhead has requested a change to the New York State Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System ("WSRR") designation of a portion of the hamlet of Riverhead from its current Recreational category to a Community category. This redesignation is requested pursuant to the provisions of Article 15, title 27 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL"), and Section 666.6 of part 666 of title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York ("6 NYCRR").

The area proposed for redesignation is located north of the Peconic River between Mill Road to the west and Grangebel Park to the east with the major portion lying north of Route 25 between Mill Road and Raynor Avenue and south of Pulaski Street, and the remainder lying generally south of State Route 25 in the hamlet of Riverhead, Town of Riverhead, Suffolk County, New York. A total of 134.27 acres of predominantly private land is proposed to be redesignated from the WSRR Recreational category to a Community area.

The proposed change does not entail any physical activity in and of itself. Non-river related commercial and industrial uses and government/institutional uses, which are prohibited under the Recreational designation, are allowed uses under the Community designation. If the redesignation is approved, all future physical activities within the project area will still be subject to all of the other regulatory requirements and standards contained in the WSRR regulations, including setback and lot coverage standards. The area meets the minimum standard contained in the WSRR regulations for a Community designation, which is an area "that has a minimum of 30 acres and, at the time of legislative designation, a minimum of 85 percent of the lots developed. In addition, the area must have either lot sizes that average one-half acre or less or no less than 40 percent of the lots developed for industrial, institutional and/or commercial uses." Section 666.3(m).

Department Staff have no objection to the proposed redesignation. Pursuant to Section 666.6, a public hearing is required to receive comments from all interested parties prior to the Commissioner making a decision on the proposed redesignation.

County of Suffolk Proposal: The County of Suffolk has requested a change to the WSRR designation of the County Center at Riverhead municipal complex, which is located in the Peconic River Scenic and Recreational River corridor. A total of 49.6 acres of county owned and occupied land are proposed to be redesignated from the current Recreational category to a Community category.

The project area is the Suffolk County Center at Riverhead, located on the south side of Nugent Drive (County Road 94, also known as State Route 24), on the west side of East Moriches-Riverhead Road (County Road 51), in the hamlet of Riverhead, Town of Southampton, Suffolk County, New York.

The proposed change does not entail any physical activity in and of itself. The only change of note is that government/institutional uses, which are prohibited under the Recreational designation, are allowed uses under the Community designation. If the redesignation is approved, all future physical activities within the project area will still be subject to all of the other regulatory requirements and standards contained in the WSRR regulations, including setback and lot coverage standards. Much of this area has already been disturbed due to prior governmental development of the site which occurred in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s after the County acquired the property for its operations, and prior to the area's inclusion in the Peconic River Scenic and Recreational River corridor.

Department Staff have no objection to the proposed redesignation. Pursuant to Section 666.6, a public hearing is required to receive comments from all interested parties prior to the Commissioner making a decision on the proposed redesignation.

SEQRA Status: Department Staff determined that each of the proposed redesignations is a Type I action, pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act, ECL article 8 ("SEQRA") and 6 NYCRR part 617 (see 6 NYCRR 617.4(b)). The Department, as lead agency, determined that the proposed redesignations would not have a significant effect on the environment, and issued two separate negative declarations.

With respect to the Town of Riverhead proposed redesignation, the negative declaration dated August 20, 2007 was published in the Department's electronic Environmental Notice Bulletin on September 12, 2007 [ENB link at: www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20070912_not1.html].

With respect to the County of Suffolk's proposed redesignation, the negative declaration dated August 27, 2007 was published in the Department's electronic Environmental Notice Bulletin on September 12, 2007 [ENB link at: www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20070912_not1.html].

Combined Public Hearings: All persons, organizations, corporations or government agencies that may be affected by the proposed redesignations are invited to comment. For this purpose, a joint hearing to receive unsworn comments on both proposed redesignations will commence at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 10 at the Riverhead Town Hall, 200 Howell Avenue, Riverhead, New York 11901, telephone number 631-727-3200.

The presentation on the County of Suffolk's redesignation will take place first, followed by the presentation on the Town of Riverhead's redesignation. Comments on either or both proposals will be accepted throughout the course of the hearings.

This location is reasonably accessible to persons with a mobility impairment. Pursuant to the State Administrative Procedure Act ("SAPA"), interpreter services shall be made available to hearing impaired persons, at no charge, upon written request to the Department's Region 1 office, at the address below, at least five business days prior to the hearing.

Written comments may also be submitted at the hearings or may be mailed to be received on or before Friday, December 19, 2008. Address comments to Robert Marsh, NYSDEC Region 1, Bureau of Habitat, SUNY Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, New York 11790-3409.

In the event of inclement weather, the hearing will be rescheduled and will commence at 6:00 p.m. at the same location on Wednesday, December 17, 2008.

Document Availability: All filed documents relating to the proposed redesignations are available for inspection during normal business hours at the Department's Region 1 Office, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, New York 11790-2356, attn: Robert Marsh, Bureau of Habitat, telephone 631-444-0364, and at the Riverhead Town Hall, 200 Howell Avenue, Riverhead, New York 11901, telephone number 631-727-3200.

Statutory and Regulatory Provisions: This proceeding is conducted according to the Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") article 1 (General Provisions); article 3, title 3 (General Functions); article 8 (State Environmental Quality Review, "SEQR"); article 15, title 27 (Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System); and also title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York ("6 NYCRR") part 617 ("SEQR"); part 621 (Uniform Procedures); and part 666 (Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System).

October 22, 2008

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