EPCAL fast-track bill sent to governor’s office

10/15/2013 3:02 PM |
EPCAl in Riverhead, FAA

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | A view of the EPCAL site from the sky.

A bill which passed both houses of the state legislature this past June, green-lighting a fast track plan for development proposals at Enterprise Park at Calverton, has been delivered to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and now awaits his signature.

According to Drew Biondo, spokesman for state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), Cuomo has 10 days from Friday to either approve or veto the legislation, which was sponsored by LaValle in the state senate and Assemblyman Fred Thiele in the lower house of the state legislature.

It received only one “no” vote in the state legislature, from Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), who is the chairman of the assembly’s environmental conservation committee. Still, Mr. LaValle and Riverhead Town officials said they didn’t feel the time lag between getting the bill approved in the legislature and getting it signed by the governor was indicative of a problem.

Rather, they said, the governor has hundreds of bills placed before him to act on, and this is a normal time frame for a bill. Officials said the governor was taking bills in batches of about 50 at a time.

A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo said the governor considers about 100 bills a week.

“Obviously, I would like it signed sooner than later but I don’t think there is a cause to be concerned at this point,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said in August. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

When the bill was initially passed, Mr. Walter called the bill “the single biggest piece of economic development legislation for Long Island, probably ever,” adding that the language gives Riverhead an economic tool that no other area in the state has.

The bill establishes the EPCAL Reuse and Revitalization Area, a 2,124-acre area for which Riverhead Town will develop an overall generic environmental impact study (GEIS) outlining what can and can’t be built there.

The town is already in the process of doing that study, which will cost about $500,000 and is expected to take about a year to complete.

But once it is completed, any fully engineered development proposal for projects within the area covered by the study will be guaranteed approval within 90 days of the application’s filing.

If an application isn’t approved in that time frame, it will receive a default approval.

The bill can’t take effect until after the study is approved, Mr. Walter said, so the four-month wait for it to be signed by the governor will not impact the overall plan.

The town attempted to get the same bill passed in 2012, when it was approved in the state senate but never came up for a vote in the assembly.

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