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EPCAL Plans Take Shape

YMCA plans for EPCAL look "promising,' town supervisor says.

After years of failed projects, the future could soon be promising for Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The Riverhead Town Board met on Thursday to review subdivision plans for the 2,900 acre parcel formerly occupied by Grumman Corp.

The new EPCAL site plan, said Walter, will include approximately 40 to 50 lots, instead of two originally proposed. "There are a whole series of lots that have been created," Walter said. "The lots that are going to sell very quickly are the ones located around Route 25.” Each lot, he said, will measure approximately five to 10 acres.

Over the past decade a number of doomed projects for the site have been pitched, including plans for a raceway and an artificial ski mountain.

At the start of the meeting, Walter said representatives of the Peconic YMCA would be coming in to meet with the town board at next week's work session to discuss siting a new YMCA at Calverton.

"It looks very promising," he said.

Deputy Town Attorney Anne Marie Prudenti and Kevin Walsh, regional director of land development for VHB Engineering, were onhand to vet the subdivision plans.

Discussed at the session were the state environmental quality review, as well as the possibility of shortening a runway at the site. Unless a commerical runway was put into place, a 10,000 foot runway is not necessary, Councilwoman Jodi Gigilo said; plans for such a commercial endeavor never materialized.

Currently, three entrances to the parcel are being discussed: the main entrance to EPCAL, a new entrance further east where New York State Route 25 and 25A meet, and one to the west near Calverton National Cemetery. New roads would be created within the parcel.

One key item under discussion was the possibility of allocating space for a Manorville/Wading River fire department substation on the property. Councilman John Dunleavy said the Riverhead Volunteer Fire Department should also have a substation.

Giglio said perhaps contributions from park and recreation fees could be used for a joint substation.

"Something has to be done," Dunleavy said, adding that he heard recently about a Riverhead resident who "beat the ambulance" to the hospital when his wife was ill.

Walter said, looking ahead, he believes development will move westerly as lots are purchased.

Sewage infrastucture was also discussed, with an application to the regional planning council for $30 million to meet expenses; with $14 million needed for new roads.

The board agreed that public scoping sessions would be necessary moving forward before the subdivision plan was finalized.

Questions arose about whethor or not the town has the abiity to lease parcels before the subdivision was complete. "Let's get through this process first," Walter said. The chance exists that someone with a use the public might find objectionable might want to lease before the subdivision process is completed. "We don't want to be fighting that" while the subdivision process is ongoing, he said.

Giglio suggested a parcel could be created beyond the ballfields for a potential arena; while the land never has to be sold or leased, it could be included as part of the process, she said.

Next steps involve the town's seeking lead agency status in the environmental review process, Walter said. In addition, the supervisor said the goal is to get the plans on the town website for public review.

Eva Salzman April 20, 2012 at 12:54 PM
At last, town planning that makes sense: sensible place for YMCA if not in Riverhead town itself, which I'd also support, providing the parking would work. Not tearing down and paving over unspoiled woods on 25. For that matter, any and all the shopping centers planned for Sound Ave should be located here or on Route 58.
John Pine April 21, 2012 at 04:46 AM
I'd love for most of the site to be preserved and made into a park, but apparently we need more traffic and pollution. I love riding down that stretch of Rt.25, please dont ruin it's rural character.
Eva Salzman April 21, 2012 at 11:40 AM
John Pine. I agree with you wholeheartedly but guess that efforts in this direction as regards this parcel would be a waste of breath for many reasons and feel that it's more important to concentrate on development schemes along Sound Ave, including Wading River and the nightmare proposals in Jamesport along that stretch of 25 which also remains very much rural corridor and large unblighted by the large shopping centers and paved parking lots which end up replacing every stretch of woods there. Rather than it being scatted about, better for development to be confined to one location. Right now, the Town Board hs pretty much put two fingers up to strong local opposition to development in Jamesport. What would they say to any opposition on this Epcal parcel do you think?! But if you get it going I'm in there with you!

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