News-Review Cover: New map for EPCAL nears completion

04/25/2012 7:00 AM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The long-awaited subdivision map for Riverhead Town’s land at the Calverton Enterprise Park is near completion.

The long-awaited subdivision map for land owned by Riverhead Town at the Calverton Enterprise Park calls for 48 separate parcels and some 300 acres of open space, it was revealed last week.

The map is now “90 percent complete,” the consultants preparing the map told town officials.

The town also plans to conduct a full-blown environmental impact study, which will lengthen the expected time it will take for the town to be able to adopt the subdivision map, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said. The town is behind on its two-year plan to start selling the land, but not by much, Mr. Walter said.
The price tag for building infrastructure is expected to reach $44 million, town officials said.

The cost of building roads and installing sewers at EPCAL is estimated at $14 million and $30 million, respectively, Mr. Walter said. The town will seek grants for that work from the Long Island Regional Planning Council, he said, because the town doesn’t have that money now.

“We, as a town, are not making all these improvements,” he said.

The town may even consider amending its code so it doesn’t have to post bonds to ensure the improvements are made, as a normal applicant would, and would instead be able to do the work as it becomes necessary and when the money is available, Mr. Walter said.

The subdivision is needed before the town can legally sell individual lots at EPCAL. Whereas the previous Town Board sought to sell large sections of the land — one proposed deal involved 755 acres and another 300 acres — this plan would chop the town-owned land into 48 smaller lots.

Many of the lots fronting Route 25 would be between five and 10 acres in size. Others would vary from 10 to 20 acres and some from 30 to 40 acres, said Kevin Walsh of VHB Engineering, the consultants preparing the map.

“I think these lots are going to sell very quickly,” Mr. Walter said. The larger lots could still be subdivided further in the future, he said.

The proposed plan would preserve most of the 300 acres on the eastern part of the property, which the town had planned to sell in the past, as open space. It also gives the town the option of shortening the active 10,000-foot runway on the eastern part of the site if needed.

“Nobody has a 10,000-foot runway,” Councilman John Dunleavy said.

The western runway, which is not active, would be incorporated into the roadways.

Town board members also discussed amending the fire district boundary lines at EPCAL, which Mr. Walsh said “are a little bit strange.”

The Wading River Fire District boundary runs about 500 feet off Route 25. South of that, it becomes Manorville Fire District, meaning that many of the proposed new lots would be split between those districts, Councilman John Dunleavy said. The Riverhead Fire District also covers parts of EPCAL.

Town officials are considering designating one lot at EPCAL for construction of a new fire and ambulance substation. They also plan to meet with Peconic YMCA during next Thursday’s work session to discuss giving them a lot next to the Grumman Memorial on Route 25.

Officials also are considering retaining some of the recreational uses in the current zoning on three larger parcels on the western portion of the property, near where the town is building a new park.

In addition to the subdivision map, VHB also is updating the zoning on the property and conducting a comprehensive environmental study of the site, which is home to some endangered species. Town officials are hoping to have all these issues addressed before they start selling the land.

VHB was hired for $462,000 in February 2011, at which time officials estimated the studies would take two years to complete.

Once the subdivision map is ready, the next step would be for the town to conduct a scoping hearing, at which residents would be able to make suggestions on what they think should be included in an environmental impact study for the map.

This now-updated story appeared on the cover of the April 26 Riverhead News-Review.

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