EPCAL plan calls for mixed use; public hearing set for September

08/13/2014 12:00 PM |
A proposed plan at Enterprise Park at Calverton calls for mixed use to house employees servicing other industries, eventually holding 300 residential units on site.

A proposed plan at Enterprise Park at Calverton calls for mixed use to house employees servicing other industries, eventually holding 300 residential units on site. (Click to enlarge)

A $600,000 study of the 2,300-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton was delivered to Town Hall last week, calling for the municipally owned land — gifted to the town for economic development in the late 1990s and largely untapped since — to be split into 50 lots for open space, as well as residential, retail, industrial and business uses. 

Commissioned by the Town Board three years ago and heralded as a major step toward developing the land, the reuse and revitalization plan will be the third major rezoning of the property in the past two decades and a public hearing is scheduled for early next month before it can be voted on.

Prior to the current plan, town officials for the most part have frowned upon allowing residential or retail uses at the site, which had been used by Grumman to make fighter planes for more than 40 years prior to 1995.

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Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter — the most vocal supporter of the study up to this point — was among those who didn’t see people living at EPCAL in the property’s future, though he has come around to the idea within the past year.

“Every study we’ve seen has called for mixed uses,” he said, the major reason being that roads heading into and out of EPCAL wouldn’t be able to sustain the high volume of commuter traffic.

The new reuse plan and a 2011 marketing study for EPCAL both called for a combination of business and residential uses, as did independent recommendations from a group of Stony Brook University graduate business students and from Martin Cantor, an economist and former Suffolk County economic development commissioner.

The supervisor hopes to start selling land at EPCAL by the end of 2015. For that to happen, however, Town Board approval of the reuse study would be needed by the end of this year, as would Planning Board approval of the subdivision map.

Last Thursday, the Town Board scheduled a Sept. 3 public hearing on the reuse plan and draft environmental impact study. The town Planning Board also has a public hearing set for the following night, Sept. 4, on the subdivision map.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio was the only Town Board member to cast any “no” votes in the scheduling of hearings on the town’s EPCAL plans at a special meeting last Thursday. The other votes on the plans, including scheduling the hearing on the DEIS, were unanimous.

Ms. Giglio said she voted against setting the Town Board and Community Development Agency hearings for the reuse plan because it only was given to officials Thursday, the same day as the vote.

She also said she is opposed to allowing housing at EPCAL.

“The land wasn’t given to the town for housing,” she said, indicating that EPCAL was transferred to the town for economic development. “I’m not happy with the retail and the housing that’s in there, but I am advocating for the light industrial, heavy industrial and commercial business uses.” 

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