The Riverhead Town Board is expected to vote on a resolution to deny a controversial excavating permit application for Driftwood Family Farms, whose owners have been seeking permission to excavate 415,160 cubic yards of material from a 41-acre Route 25 farm in Calverton.
The board discussed the resolution briefly at its work session Thursday and is expected to vote on the issue at Wednesday’s regular meeting scheduled for 2 p.m.
Property owner Steve Mezynieski argued before the Town Board earlier this year that he was excavating the land to eliminate hills and slopes on the property, which is just west of the FedEx building, to make it better for farming.
Town officials, meanwhile, expressed concern that the proposed excavation was a sand mine in disguise.
Then on Aug. 19, Robert Somers of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets wrote in a letter to Mr. Mezynieski — and copied to Riverhead Town and the town attorney’s office — that the state only allows farms to excavate when it is in aid of agricultural activities, and that this case doesn’t meet that criteria because only a portion of the property appears to be in agricultural production, based on aerial photos.
Mr. Mezynieski is the manager of the department’s Agricultural Protection Unit.
Also at Thursday’s work session, the board discussed hiring EGA Architects and Cashing Associates Engineering for $87,500 to come up with a plan to turn the Route 58 armory into a town police and court headquarters.
In addition, the board discussed new regulations regarding clearing for commercial projects near residences.
News-Review reporter Tim Gannon reported live from Thursday’s work session.
To find out what else happened, click below.
August 29, 2013 – Agenda by Riverhead News-Review