11/06/14 3:50pm
11/06/2014 3:50 PM
The Valero sign in Jamesport reflecting the cash price of $3.05 per gallon of regular gasoline Thursday afternoon. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The Valero sign in Jamesport reflecting the cash price for regular gasoline Thursday afternoon. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

There was a smile on Rosario Naimo’s face Thursday afternoon as he pulled into the Valero gas station in Jamesport.

That’s because he saw something he hadn’t seen for a while. The cost of a gallon of gas was $3.05. (more…)

10/23/14 3:28pm
10/23/2014 3:28 PM
A six-mile stretch of Main Road would be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road is being pitched for an historic district. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

The National Register Historic District proposed for Main Road in Aquebogue, Jamesport and Laurel has already been rejected by the Riverhead Town Board — and it appears to be one heading that way with the Southold Town Board as well.

“The Town Board had decided that the fate of the proposed district in Southold would be left to the will of the property owners who own land included in the proposed district,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said. “We have had 19 owners raise objections and only four show support. Southold cannot support the proposed district moving forward based on those figures.” (more…)

10/22/14 8:11pm
10/22/2014 8:11 PM
A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

Four of the five Riverhead Town Board members have signed a letter asking the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and the state Office of Parks and Recreation to withdraw the town’s application for a proposed National Register Historic District along Main Road in Aquebogue, Jamesport and Laurel, according to Councilman George Gabrielsen.  (more…)

10/07/14 3:45pm
10/07/2014 3:45 PM
The site of a proposed 75-unit affordable housing project on Route 25 in Mattituck. (Cyndi Murray photo)

The site of a proposed 75-unit affordable housing project on Route 25 in Mattituck. (Cyndi Murray photo)

A wooded 20-acre property across from the Capital One office building in Mattituck could one day become the site a new 75-unit affordable housing complex. (more…)

09/13/14 8:00am
09/13/2014 8:00 AM
Randy Clement (left) and Mile Weber Jr. of Clement Carpentry of Jamesport working on the Witch's Hat restoration Thursday morning.

Randy Clement (left) and Mike Weber Jr. of Clement Carpentry of Jamesport working on the Witch’s Hat restoration Thursday morning.

The curiously shaped “Witch’s Hat” in Aquebogue is getting a much-needed makeover thanks to donations from area businesses and volunteers.

Spearheaded by the Riverhead Landmarks Preservation Commission, along with the Save Main Road preservation advocacy group, the roadside structure — named an official town landmark in 1987 — will be restored back to its original specifications.

The stand was built in 1926 by Henry and Lena Flemming, and used to sell gas, candy, cigarettes, and eventually ice cream to motorists from the 1930’s to 1970.  (more…)

08/15/14 6:00am
08/15/2014 6:00 AM
John Mangieri (Credit: Rachel Young)

Gian Mangieri, owner of Laurel Creek Landscape Nursery in Laurel, expressing his concerns about a historic designation along Main Road. (Credit: Rachel Young)

The mood was downright pleasant when a meeting commenced Thursday evening at Jamesport Meeting House to discuss a proposal to create a National Register Historic District on six miles of Main Road stretching from Aquebogue to Laurel.

Residents at the meeting, which included several Riverhead and Southold Town politicians, listened from the building’s historic pews as Richard Wines, chair of Riverhead’s landmarks preservation committee, presented a short slideshow featuring photos of well-known historic properties, like Modern Snack Bar in Aquebogue. He explained that being listed with the National Register provides certain economic incentives, namely a 20 percent tax credit to homeowners doing restoration work on their properties.

Kathleen LaFrank and Jennifer Betsworth of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation gave an overview of the Register, which was founded in 1966 and is the official list of historic properties that have been recognized as significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.

After the presentations were given, the floor was opened for questions.

And that’s when Gian Mangieri of Laurel stood up.

Mr. Mangieri, owner of Laurel Creek Landscape Nursery in Laurel, told the crowd he didn’t have any problem with the law itself. But the small-business owner expressed anger at the prospect of further government involvement with his property.

He said he believes creating a historic district could pave the way for new legislation on the local level restricting residents’ abilities to do work on their properties.

Homeowners, he fears, could end up having to go before organizations like the landmarks preservation committee to get approval before any construction begins.

“This is he carrot, but the stick is coming,” he said. “I think it’s very important to ask questions not only about this law but the consequences that follow,” he said. “I feel restricted enough in what I can do with my property that I don’t need more restrictions on top of that.”

Mr. Wines said the only way such a restriction could be placed on property owners is if members of the Riverhead or Southold Town Boards voted for it.

Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said that “just being on the national district does not give you any restrictions.”

Ms. Giglio and Ms. LaFrank both pointed out that once something becomes part of the National Register, property owners still have the right to bulldoze their houses or paint them bright purple, should they so choose.

According to a National Register handout presented at the meeting, “When private or local funds are used, and a project does not require state of federal permits or SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act), listing on the National Register does not in any way interfere with a property owner’s right to remodel, alter, manage, sell or even demolish a property.”

However, it states, “If state or federal funding is used or a project requires a state or federal permit, project developers are required to consult with SHPO staff regarding the plans.”

Some residents said they hadn’t received letters notifying them of Thursday’s meeting. Ms. LaFrank, who said addresses were obtained from tax bills and that some information may be outdated, promised to correct the situation.

Some residents, like Diane Schwartz of Jamesport, was in favor of creating a National Register Historic District.

“I don’t understand the opposition,” she told Mr. Mangieri. “If you live on Main Road and are proud of your house and your property, why would you not want to be able to take advantage of that [tax] credit and make your home better?”

When it comes down to it, Ms. Betsworth said, the National Register Historic District will only come to fruition if that’s what property owners want.

“We are here to serve you,” Ms. Betsworth said. “And if serving you means not having a National Register, that’s fine.”

Mr. Wines said the reason for Thursday’s meeting was to gain feedback from the community.

“In a public meeting like this, sometimes it comes down to who yells the loudest,” he said. “If you do oppose it — if you don’t want your neighbors or yourself to get these benefits — send in those objection letters. And if we sense there’s a strong opposition, we won’t want to do it.”

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08/01/14 11:58am
08/01/2014 11:58 AM
Hampton Coffee beans on display at the company's Southampton location, which opened last year. (Credit: Michael White)

Hampton Coffee beans on display at the company’s Southampton location, which opened last year. (Credit: Michael White)

Popular South Fork coffee roaster and espresso purveyor Hampton Coffee Company is looking to set up shop in Aquebogue.

The company’s chief executive officer, Jason Belkin, is seeking to convert the former Go Solar building on Main Road into a coffee shop, espresso bar and bakery with off-site preparation, according to an application filed with Riverhead Town. Read more at northforker.com.

Mr. Belkin and an attorney for the company met before the Riverhead Town board on Thursday.

Read meeting coverage here.

07/29/14 5:00pm
07/29/2014 5:00 PM
A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

The Riverhead and Southold landmarks preservation groups are more than two years into the process of filing an application to get a stretch of Main Road placed on the state Register of Historic Places — and eventually the national register.

And property owners are getting an extra two months to weigh in the proposal.  (more…)

07/24/14 8:00am
07/24/2014 8:00 AM
A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

A six-mile stretch of Main Road could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The corridor includes Aquebogue’s Old Steeple Church, built in 1862 and designed by a farmer with no architectural experience, as well as Aquebogue Cemetery, which dates back to 1755 and contains the graves of numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. (Credit: Andrew Lepre)

It’s a stretch of road where Benjamin Franklin placed mile markers and early 20th-century car racers ran the road ragged, hitting speeds up to 70 miles per hour at a time when horses were the dominant mode of travel.

(more…)