The Town Board on Thursday discussed a pending excavation permit application filed with the town by the owners of Driftwood Family Farms in Calverton.
The family also owns a farm in Orient and another on the South Fork. (See prior coverage)
The Calverton land is about 41 acres, but is not level, explained farm owners Steven and Gretchen Mezynieski, who are being represented by Riverhead attorney Peter Danowski.
The farmers are looking to excavate and level the property, removing some 415,000 cubic yards of sand from the site in the process.
Mr. Mezynieski also runs an excavation company out of Southampton Town, he told the board, and would use some sand to make some repairs to his Orient farm and sell the rest himself. His company would conduct the excavation work, he explained.
Fearing the property would be turned into a sand mine, Town Board members discussed the possibility of requiring the Mezynieskis conduct the work in phases.
Town officials also had concerns over potential stormwater issues that may come with the alternated elevations.
Mr. Danowski said the work would improve the percentage of prime soil on the property, because the soil on steep land at the site is not now considered prime because the land is too steep to farm. He also noted that if the family were to sell the land, another owner could come in and build industrial buildings on the site under its current zoning. Such industrial uses would also require that the land be leveled, he said.
Mr. Mezynieski said repeatedly he only wants to transform the property into a full, working farm to leave for his son to farm in the decades to come.
The board also discussed having court officers work beyond their current three days at town Justice Court.
The board also agreed to lease 1o to 15 acres to Insurance Auto Auctions in Calverton on a month-to-month lease. The Illinois company has been storing flood-damaged cars there since the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but its current lease expires this month.
The meeting started at 9:30 a.m. and ran until about 11 a.m.
News-Review editor Michael White reported live.
Click below to see what happened.