01/23/14 9:07pm
01/23/2014 9:07 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A concept map of the facility shows the layout of where patients would sleep on site.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A concept map of the facility shows the layout of where patients would sleep on site. Developers said they’d need zoning relief for housing and evaluation, making up 36 percent of the site.

At the request of the developers, a Zoning Board of Appeals decision on zoning exemptions for a proposed $10 million addiction research and treatment facility at the Enterprise Park at Calverton has been pushed back to next month. (more…)

01/23/14 9:00am
Calverton EPCAL sign

MICHAEL WHITE FILE PHOTO | One of two signs marking the EPCAL entrance along Route 25 in Calverton.

Political science students, take note: Once again, the Zoning Board of Appeals will rule this week on an application of long-term importance to Riverhead and the surrounding areas. Town Board members regularly get lots of visibility, but it’s worth reminding readers and residents that Thursday night’s decision on plans for a 34-acre substance abuse research campus will truly shape the future of the Enterprise Park at Calverton. The ZBA should support the application. (more…)

01/06/14 9:30am
01/06/2014 9:30 AM
Calverton EPCAL sign

MICHAEL WHITE FILE PHOTO | One of two signs marking the EPCAL entrance along Route 25 in Calverton.

Hikers, bikers and walkers beware: the walking trails at Enterprise Park at Calverton are closed from Monday through the end of the month.

Riverhead Town announced that the trails will be closed from Jan. 6 through Jan. 31 during the shotgun deer hunting season on Long Island, though the special firearms hunting season doesn’t include weekend days.

Town officials have held a hunting lottery over the past few years to reduce the deer population at the town-owned land, though this season, three-day slots that hunters had been given last year will be reduced to two-day openings.

01/01/14 3:29pm
01/01/2014 3:29 PM
TIM GANNON PHOTO | Sean Walter says some words at the town's inauguration ceremonies Wednesday at Pulaski Street School.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Sean Walter says some words at the town’s inauguration ceremonies Wednesday at Pulaski Street School.

Riverhead Town officials re-elected in November were sworn in for their new terms Wednesday in a New Year’s Day inauguration ceremony at the Pulaski Street School.

Supervisor Sean Walter, council members Jodi Giglio and John Dunleavy, Highway Superintendent George Woodson and Assessor Laverne Tennenburg, all incumbents, all took their oath of office, assisted by family members.

The only new face at Wednesday’s ceremony was Republican Anthony Palumbo, who was elected to fill a vacancy in the North Fork state Assembly position that was vacated by the resignation of former assemblyman Dan Losquadro.

Mr. Walter once again said the current Town Board has made progress in reviving downtown and the Enterprise Park at Calverton, and has improved the town’s financial condition since taking over in 2010.

He said there is a great anticipation for what will happen in the future, and hinted that some big projects may be coming to EPCAL.

“Some of things people are looking to do at EPCAL, we can’t even talk about them because they are so large” and the applicants have asked that they not be made public, Mr. Walter said.

Mr. Dunleavy noted that East End Arts was unable to do its annual window decorating contest in the vacant stores in downtown Riverhead this year because there aren’t enough empty stores.

He also said Route 58 has been a big tax generator and that without some of the big retail centers there, people’s taxes would be much higher.

Mr. Dunleavy said the new Walmart on western Route 58 is scheduled to open on Jan. 15 and the new Costco is expected to open in April.

After that, he said, there won’t be many large tracts left on Route 58 that can be developed.

tgannon@timesreview.com

12/31/13 12:00pm
12/31/2013 12:00 PM
Suffolk Theater in Riverhead

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The historic Suffolk Theater in downtown Riverhead reopened earlier this year.

On the fast track at EPCAL

A monumental hurdle was cleared in the effort to finally bring economic development to the Enterprise Park at Calverton. That hurdle came in the form of state legislation, passed in October, designed to fast-track development proposals for 600 subdivided acres of town land at the former Grumman site. Several EPCAL proposals have fallen apart in the past, usually because they found themselves in a jurisdictional purgatory among governments. This legislation should solve the problem. Though nothing was built this year, the work of state and local lawmakers, namely Sean Walter, Ken LaValle and Fred Thiele, should pay dividends later in the form of jobs and tax base.

Little more than a land grab

Riverhead Town had set out to subdivide 800 acres of town-owned property at EPCAL, yet the subdivision map that’s been sketched out shows 600 acres that will be sold. The loss of 200 acres comes because the state Department of Environmental Conservation outlined land that could not be developed at EPCAL due to protected species. While we’re not about ruining sensitive habitats, the last we checked, preserving huge swaths of land usually involves some sort of financial transaction. If the state doesn’t want this acreage developed, it must compensate the town accordingly. The proceeds could help fund necessary sewer plant upgrades and other infrastructure improvements at the site.

ThumbUpBye-bye sex offenders

Six years is an awfully long time for one community to house the county’s entire homeless sex offender population. In fact, it’s six years too long.

But we were happy to report this year that the homeless sex offender trailers in Riverside were finally moved and the sex offenders were placed in shelters across the county.

The trailer system was never a good idea and the county’s handling of the situation was appalling.

The only good that ever came of it was the day the trailers finally left.

ThumbdownA clear-cut disaster at Costco site

The town gave away the store by granting developers of the Route 58 Costco project the OK to clear-cut an entire 41-acre property in 2013, including 11 acres in which there are no immediate plans to build. The measure saved the developers money but short-changed taxpayers $374,100 in fees on imported fill. The reason given by the developers was that they didn’t want to disturb neighbors twice (should they build more later). Somehow this argument held water with the Planning Board, which approved the site plan in 2012, and the Town Board, which granted an excavation permit this year. Neighbors in the Foxwood and Millbrook communities now enjoy views of sand pits and strings of small arborvitae.

ThumbUpThe Suffolk Theater reopens

The history of the Suffolk Theater is too long and fraught with ups and downs to fit into this space but in 2013, the art deco-style theater saw a big “up” as it reopened after years of effort from Bob and Dianne Castaldi.

In the wake of the opening of the theater, which has hosted events from concerts to comics to debates to psychics, a variety of other businesses have opened their doors in the area on Main Street — exactly the hope of many who awaited the theater’s return.

The Castaldis were named People of the Year by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce for their efforts, with East End Arts executive director Pat Snyder calling the anchor site a “point of pride” for the town.

ThumbdownRotten to the Common Core

New York State has agreed to adopt high-stakes testing and controversial teacher evaluation systems tied to Common Core State Standards in exchange for a one-time installment of $700 million in federal Race to the Top grant money. That’s less than 3 percent of what the state spends in a single year on education, experts say. Hardly seems worth the money to tie ourselves to a system that, at best, may help already college-bound kids attend marginally better colleges but will likely cause at-risk youths, English language learners and students with disabilities to fail in school in even greater numbers. Since the overhaul wasn’t created by legislation, lawmakers can, and do, deflect blame.

12/30/13 1:00pm
12/30/2013 1:00 PM
Calverton EPCAL sign

MICHAEL WHITE FILE PHOTO | One of two signs marking the EPCAL entrance along Route 25 in Calverton.

Two years ago, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter proposed the establishment of an EPCAL “fast-track” process to ensure that projects can be built there without running into government red tape. But the proposal itself couldn’t secure approval in the state Legislature.

This year, he tried again. And it worked. The state bill creating the 2,124-acre EPCAL Reuse and Revitalization Area was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in October and will take effect once the town completes an environmental study and subdivision of its land at EPCAL.

The Grumman Corporation left the Calverton Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in 1995. Riverhead Town took title to the property, courtesy of the federal government, in 1998. In 2001, the town sold the approximately 500-acre industrial core of that property, which has since become home to a number of large companies.

But beyond that, the land now called Enterprise Park at Calverton has seen a series of big proposals over the years that come, draw a lot of attention, and then go away without anything being built.

“This is probably one of the most monumental pieces of legislation that will hit the East End,” Mr. Walter has said of the “fast-track” measure.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 news stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.