Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter is seeing red.
Walter, who is on vacation, blasted Marty Johnson, CEO and founder of the Long Island Motorsports Associaton, in a phone interview on Thursday. Walter said that a recent tape leaked to the Riverhead News Review, on which Walter allegedly says he would try to quietly approve drag racing at Enterprise Park at Calverton, could slam the brakes on any future drag racing discussions.
"I don't understand this guy," Walter said. "Marty Johnson is destroying drag racing on Long Island."
Walter said plans for the future at EPCAL currently being considered include a racing country club, where members would pay to join and race on a quarter mile track. "It would be no different than a golf club," Walter said. "That's what we're studying."
But, the supervisor added, although and are two uses that have residents divided passionately on both sides, with some fervently advocating for a new drag strip and environmentalists decrying the possibility, the bottom line is that before any future use can be discussed, the subdivision process and environmental review by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation must be completed first.
"We don't want to paint a target on drag racing's back -- we have to get through the process," Walter said.
The supervisor said he believes it's important to proceed with the DEC process before any uses are fully vetted. "You can't put the cart before the horse," he said.
"We don't want to take one potential use on 2,400 acres and make it a target," Walter said, adding that there are a number of elected officials he declined to identify who are opposed to drag racing.
Johnson's actions, Walter said, may force the issue to a head. "There are a couple of elected officials that have jurisdiction over EPCAL that don't like drag racing. And if they tell me that drag racing's done -- Marty killed it."
Johnson responded that officials including State Sen. Ken Lavalle are "quietly against this." But, Johnson said, "These elected officials need to understand that they work for the poeple. The particular individuals who are against this -- I don't think they should be in office any longer."
Motorsports, Johnson said, do "nothing but good" for the community; those involved are charitable and involved in giving back.
Walter said while the DEC review process is ongoing, the goal should not be to "make this a public fight about drag racing and polo ponies. This should not be about anything but apple pie, Mom and Chevrolet -- which is what stands for. The point is, you're not sneaking it in -- but you're just trying to be quiet. You don't want to raise the red flag."
Johnson, Walter added, is "throwing a wrench in things." The supervisor questioned why Johnson kept a voicemail and sent it to the media. "Who keeps phone messages for two years?" he asked.
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