Polo, BMW races & model airplanes — all being pitched for EPCAL

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | EPCAL's north gate on Route 25 in Calverton when it was closed by the DOT over traffic concerns.

One group wants to organize polo matches. Another wants to fly model airplanes. And still another hopes to hold BMW drag races.

But the organizations need land for their quite different hobbies.

One thing they have in common is they’re all looking to lease space at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, according to Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

Riverhead Town, which owns the land, well, the town needs money. The Town Board has just authorized a $448,000 study to look at what uses and zoning should be allowed at the former Grumman naval weapons plant property, now referred to as EPCAL.

The comprehensive study is expected to take about two years to complete and Supervisor Sean Walter said he doesn’t think the town will be actively marketing the property during that time.

But Ms. Giglio and Councilman John Dunleavy feel the town should be entertaining offers to at least lease the property in the interim.

“We’re losing a lot of money out there,” Mr. Dunleavy said during a discussion at a public Town Board work session Thursday.

A group from Argentina that is looking to play polo at EPCAL is scheduled to meet with Ms. Giglio and Mr. Dunleavy today, as Mr. Walter wouldn’t allow the group to be on the regular work session schedule.

The supervisor said Jack O’Connor, the town’s real estate broker at EPCAL, contacted him about the Argentinian group four months ago. Mr. Walter said he wanted a written proposal, but all the group submitted was a web site address that showed 300 single-family houses as part of the polo plan.

“I don’t want to elevate something like this to the front burner,” he said.

Ms. Giglio, Mr. Dunleavy and Councilman Jim Wooten planned to meet with the group today at 1 p.m. but Mr. Walter reminded them that only two Town Board members can meet under state public meeting laws. Otherwise the trio would have to formally alert the press.

Neither Ms. Giglio nor Mr. Dunleavy could remember the group’s name during Thursday’s work session.

Ms. Giglio said she’s also been contacted by a group that wants to race muffled BMW’s along the unused runway at EPCAL on Friday and Saturday nights for $100,000 per year.

And, she said, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which flies model airplanes, wants to use EPCAl for about $20,000 per year.

That group sought to use EPCAL in 2007 but the town went into contract with Riverhead Resorts for the same property they sought to lease and the deal fell through.

The Riverhead Resorts plan, which sought to buy 755 acres for $108 million, fell through earlier this year.

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