Film shoot, motorsports event proposed for Calverton Enterprise Park

09/23/2010 12:00 AM |

A one-day film shoot and an “autocross” competition are the latest uses being sought for the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
A company called Gotham Arts is seeking to film at EPCAL for one day on
Oct. 4, from sunrise to sunset. During that time, there would be only
one vehicle and two actors present, Hernan Otano, a
cinematographer with the group told the Town Board at a public work session Thursday.
The film is being directed by Rob Feld, and actor Campbell Scott, the
son of George C. Scott, who played General George Patton in the 1970
film “Patton,” will be one of the actors present, Mr. Otano said.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter.
The other proposal was far more controversial.
Autocross events are driving skill contests that emphasize a driver’s ability and a car’s handling while driving around cones on a course that’s usually just an empty parking lot, Jonathan Cohen of the Sports Car Club of America’s New York chapter, explained to the town officials
That group is seeking to hold such events on the unused 10,000-foot runway at the EPCAL site.
Autocross events are held in the parking lots of the Nassau Coliseum and the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, he said.
“Speeds are no greater than those normally encountered in legal highway driving,” Mr. Cohen said, noting that cars are never racing against each other at the same time.
The group is looking to initially do a trial event at EPCAL, and then possibly hold a series of events afterward.
Mr. Cohen didn’t mention how much they’d be willing to pay in rent, but said the rent they pay at Nassau Coliseum is “three figures.”
The supervisor said the town’s primary goal is to the subdivide the property at EPCAL so it can be sold, and he expressed concern that an autocross event there could ruffle Department of Environmental Conservation officials, who are processing the town’s subdivision application.
“I don’t want to tick them off,” Mr. Walter said.
Other Town Board members did not feel autocross would be a problem. “I personally think it’s a low-impact event,” Councilman Jim Wooten said.
“I can’t see anything wrong with it,” Councilman John Dunleavy said.
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio also had no problem with the proposal.
Mr. Dunleavy said he’s tired of the town always being afraid of what environmental groups say about events planned for EPCAL.
A group that sought to fly model airplanes there even backed out because of environmental concerns, he said.
“Nothing’s ever going to happen at Grumman,” he said.
Mr. Walter said he wants to see what effect the autocross events might have on the town’s subdivision application before making a decision.
“I’m going to make some phone calls to see if this is going to jam us up,” he said.
Sid Bail, the vice president of the Wading River Civic Association who was in the audience at the public work session, said the use could set a precedent for other motorsports groups to want to set up shop at EPCAL, as the massive site has been on the radar of motorsports enthusiasts for some time.
“What are you setting the precedent for? Where does this lead?,” Mr. Bail asked.
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