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Supervisor: Two potential buyers vying for 600 acres of EPCAL property

08/08/2016 2:00 PM |

A bird's eye view of the Enterprise Park at Calverton site. (Credit: Andrew Lepre, file)

The Riverhead Town Board approved two more steps needed for the completion of its Enterprise Park at Calverton reuse plans on Tuesday, but it still has a few more steps to go, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

“We still have to adopt the new zoning for the property and the Planning Board has to approve the new subdivision map,” Mr. Walter said. “We’re also applying to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act permit and for the incidental taking permit.”

The Town Board on Tuesday adopted resolutions amending is comprehensive plan to reflect the new EPCAL zoning and it adopted a new Urban Renewal plan for EPCAL that also reflects those changes.

The new zoning and reuse plans are the result of a five-year, $500,000 study on uses for the land, which was given to the town by the federal government in 1998, after having been leased to the Grumman Corporation for more than 40 years prior to that.

The proposed 50-lot subdivision is needed before the town can legally sell off individual lots on the property.

Mr. Walter said there are two potential buyers for the EPCAL land who are interested in buying all of the approximately 600 acres of developable land the town owns.

Whichever one the town selects will have to undergo a “long due-diligence period that we hope to do at the same time we’re finishing up the reuse plans,” Mr. Walter said.

While he declined to name either of the prospective buyers of the EPCAL land or to disclose how much they were offering for the land, Mr. Walter said the amount “is going to help the town tremendously.”

He said both potential buyers were looking to buy the 600 acres in sections, rather than to buy the entire acreages at once.

The due-diligence period will include what’s known as a “qualified and eligible sponsor” hearing in which the buyer has to show they have the ability and financial wherewithal to carry out whatever plans they have for the property. These hearings are required when a municipality tries to sell land within an Urban Renewal area.

The Rivers Act restricts development along the Peconic River and the boundary includes a portion of the town-owned EPCAL land, even though there’s a road and a golf course between EPCAL and the river. The town hopes to persuade the DEC to relocate this boundary.

The “incidental take” permit refers to the state’s Endangered and Threatened Species Act and requires an endangered or threatened species mitigation plan that will result in a net benefit to the species.

Endangered species at EPCAL include the short-eared owl and the eastern tiger salamander, while threatened species include the northern harrier and the upland sandpiper.

The “incidental take” results from the potential disturbance of their habitat by the development of the property.

Mr. Walter said he’s hoping the whole process can be completed by the end of the year.

Photo caption: A bird’s eye view of the EPCAL land. (Credit: Andrew Lepre, file)

 

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