Town Board approves animal shelter at EPCAL

A kitten at NFAWL. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

The Riverhead Town Board voted Tuesday to designate North Fork Animal Welfare League as a “qualified and eligible sponsor” to rent town land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton to build a new animal shelter. 

The land in question is adjacent to the Henry Pfeifer Community Center, which will become part of the town’s animal control facilities under the plan the town is working on.

Councilman George Gabrielsen cast the lone no vote, saying he thinks the area is a “hostile environment” for dogs and that the town is potentially giving away a “million-dollar asset” in the Pfeifer building.

NFAWL members cheered when the board vote was decided. Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who had opposed the site in a vote earlier this year, voted yes Tuesday, saying, “There’s no doubt in my mind that NFAWL is capable of taking care of the animals.”

Supervisor Sean Walter said the next step in the process will be for the town to prepare the site plan application for the project and to file an application with the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a variance to build on the site. The site is within the state’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act, which places restrictions on what type of developments can be built.

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