Densieski slams EPCAL subdivision proposal at Planning Board

Densieski. (Credit: Paul Squire)
Ed Densieski, a former town councilman, spoke against the proposed mixed-use plan for EPCAL. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Riverhead Planning Board member and former town councilman Ed Densieski has slammed a plan to split the 2,300-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton into 50 mixed-use lots, saying the proposal would only lead to the site being turned into a residential area. 

“If this plan is approved it just paves the way for more mediocrity in Riverhead,” Mr. Densieski said at the Planning Board’s Thursday meeting.

Mr. Densieski took issue with the 300 housing units proposed in a $600,000 EPCAL study delivered to the town earlier this month. The study has been in the works for nearly three years.

Before the town can begin selling land at EPCAL in 2015, specific approvals would be needed from both the Town Board and the Planning Board by the end of this year.

“I don’t know how housing fits in,” Mr. Densieski said Thursday. “I just don’t think it does fit … The reason [EPCAL] is unique is because there’s no residential housing near the industrial core. As soon as you put residential housing in there, it’s going to be the same as every other spot.”

Deputy town attorney Anne Marie Prudenti said the housing was “limited based upon the findings in the market study.”

“I don’t call 300 houses limited,” Mr. Densieski replied, predicting that such a development would turn into a “rental neighborhood.”

Mr. Densieski criticized the plan as focusing too much on housing and not enough on important industries like aviation. He also said the document never discussed having motorsports at the facility.

The plan calls for mixed-use development, under which EPCAL would include a blend of residential, commercial and industrial uses.

“To me, mixed-use is just a fancy-schmancy term for housing,” Mr. Densieski said. “Let’s go to Hubbard Avenue and ask people near Gershow Recycling if they think mixed-use is a good idea.”

But Ms. Prudenti said many of the findings Mr. Densieski was citing came from exhibits in the report that were culled from previous studies, not the most recent one.

But Mr. Densieski said he stands by his criticisms. He believes the town should have relied on a previous EPCAL study from the community that didn’t recommend housing.

“We could have saved 600 — or whatever — thousand dollars,” he said.

The reuse and environmental portions of the EPCAL proposal will go to a public hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 3, with the Planning Board set to hear public comment on the subdivision side of the plan at a hearing on Thursday, Sept. 4.

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