County planning commission OK’s F1 go-kart track

08/07/2014 2:00 PM |
A model of the planned F1 go-kart facility as it appears on the company’s website.

A model of the planned F1 go-kart facility as it appears on the company’s website.

A proposal to build a go-kart track on Edwards Avenue in Calverton got a thumbs up from the Suffolk County Planning Commission yesterday afternoon in Hauppauge, though it did recommend further study on noise that could come from the property.

F1 Long Island is proposing to build a series of kart racing tracks, a 14,800-square foot clubhouse and conference center, and a 5,000-square foot maintenance building on 12.1 acres of undeveloped land on the west side of Edwards Avenue, just south of FedEx.

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The application dates back ten years and had been tied up in litigation with Riverhead Town since 2009, although both sides say they are close to settling the two lawsuits filed by F1 against the town. In December, the town’s Planning Board rescinded a pair of resolutions that rejected the company’s environmental studies of the project, which had prompted the suits in the first place.

The Suffolk County Planning Commission’s vote is largely advisory, and it makes recommendations on applications on county or state roads, while also making land use recommendations. The commission voted 10-0 in favor of F1′s application at its meeting Wednesday.

“I am fully in favor of this project,” said commission member Carl Gabrielsen, who is from Jamesport and is Riverhead Town’s representative on the board. He called the track “a great project for kids.”

He said his one concern is noise, and he cited the fact that he can sometimes hear cars from Riverhead Raceway all the way in Jamesport.

“You have to remember, Riverhead Raceway has formula cars with no mufflers. These are karts with mufflers,” said county chief planner Andrew Freleng, He said the applicants “are very aware of the noise issue.”

Still, the commission’s recommendation felt that additional analysis is warranted on the noise issue, and that an acoustic specialist should be consulted.

The commission also recommended that rainwater runoff be diverted around a pond on the property, which the applicant says was a man-made pond made by a prior owner.

F1′s CEO, Marc Leibowitz, said after the meeting that they are planning to install three sound barriers on the property, including one on the southern end of the property, where a horse farm is located. That part of the site is 30 feet below the horse farm property, and the proposed sound wall will be 27 feet high, he said.

F1 currently uses the property for motorbike racing and plans to build the kart track around the natural hilly features of the property, rather than to clear the land and make a flat track, Mr. Leibowitz said.

“It won’t be the same as most other kart tracks that you see, which are just flat,” he said.

F1 Long Island is currently seeking site plan approval from the Riverhead Town Planning Board.

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