To the editor:
Are Sean Walter and the rest of the Riverhead Town Board playing Riverhead’s version of Netflix’s “House of Cards” in their new willingness to permit residential development in the EPCAL area?
Have you really been convinced by the ill-considered sketches of a group of Stony Brook students, or cookie-cutter plans from a paid consultant, that apartments with accessory retail stores (Delis? Nail salons?) are the way to go?
Let’s reconsider the implications of this decision. Sure, you can easily find developers eager to build these apartments and strip malls. But who will pay for the schools for this new residential population? What will the impact be on our roads?
Please step back to the original vision for EPCAL. Keep an eye on what is most precious here. As California’s agricultural resources literally dry up, we should develop ours to take advantage of this rain-fed, sunny land. Since greenhouses are restricted on our preserved ag land, what if we look to develop the Grumman spaces with extensive, sun or wind-powered greenhouses, growing food for metropolitan New York? There are European and Asian companies who understand that agriculture can be big business. Let’s lure them here. If you want to allow housing, tie it into the business development at EPCAL. Maybe you could permit a new industry to build housing that would be part of its employees’ benefit package. That would help them hire good workers who otherwise couldn’t afford the cost of living here, which has been a major issue in attracting them.
I beg you, don’t make EPCAL a further extension of strip mall USA. It won’t solve our long-term tax issues. Propping up the house of cards with developer-friendly deals does not serve the public well.
Louisa Hargrave, Jamesport