DEC: Sandy-damaged cars haven’t budged from EPCAL grass

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.
DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Hurricane Sandy damaged cars parked on the grasslands at EPCAL.

Last month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation ordered cars to be removed from property at the Enterprise Park at Calverton owned by Jan Burman.

But DEC officials say those cars are still there.

An auto auction company called Copart has been storing cars damaged in Hurricane Sandy on Mr. Burman’s property, just south of the eastern runway at EPCAL.

While Riverhead Town has an arrangement with a different auto auction company to store storm-damaged cars on town-owned property at EPCAL, the state DEC targeted only the Burman/Copart arrangement because those cars are being kept on grass, raising environmental concerns, while the town property involved is all paved runways and taxiways.

But DEC officials say Copart and Mr. Burman have not removed the cars.

“DEC has engaged both parties [Copart and Mr. Burman] regarding the issue of the vehicles that have not been removed from the property as ordered. DEC is currently evaluating potential next steps to initiate vehicle removal,” said DEC spokesperson Aphrodite Montalvo.

Asked how many cars were removed and how many remain, she responded, “To DEC’s knowledge, no cars have yet been removed from the site. An exact amount of vehicles on the site has not been calculated, but given the amount of acreage being utilized, DEC suspects vehicles ranging in the thousands.”

A News-Review reporter did report seeing cars being taken from the site Nov. 28, with a private security guard also saying the cars were being removed.

Mr. Burman did not respond to a call seeking comment and Copart did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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