Town: EPCAL infrastructure cost estimated at $55 million

How much will it cost to install sewers, public water and other infrastructure at Enterprise Park at Calverton?

About $55 million.

And the estimate recently calculated by Rivehead Town consultants has Supervisor Sean Walter concerned because those expenses will be likely be subtracted from prospective buyers’ offers.

“The higher the cost to the developer, the less the property is worth,” Mr. Walter said in an interview Thursday, adding an official total for infrastructure will be determined when the project is bid out.

The $55 million estimate, which Mr. Walter said the town can’t afford, includes improvements to roads, sewers, and rebuilding the Calverton Sewage Treatment Plant, as well as installing public water and drainage to the site.

Not included in the estimate is improvements to state roads leading to EPCAL. Mr. Walter said the state Department of Transportation has requested the town widen Route 25 from Ridge east to Calverton, fix the Edwards Avenue-Route 25 intersection and condemn some property near the terminus of the Long Island Expressway for road improvements.

“It’s completely ludicrous to expect the town to fix all the state’s problems,” Mr. Walter said.

Councilman John Dunleavy added: “They don’t want to pay for it. They want us to pay for it.”

The town must first complete a 50-lot subdivision of the 600 acres it plans to sell at EPCAL, a process Mr. Walter said he hopes will be completed by summer.

Revenue from land sales at EPCAL is expected to balance the town’s budget over the next two years.

Riverhead has received a $5 million grant to upgrade the EPCAL sewage treatment plant, a project that’s estimated to cost over $20 million.

EPCAL’s infrastructure issues were discussed recently by members of the town’s agricultural advisory committee, which has suggested that EPCAL be made a receiving area for development rights transferred from farmland.

Under the town’s transfer of development rights program, the ability to develop land can be transferred off of farms that the town is looking to preserve and onto land where the town feels additional development would be appropriate.

Normally, a developer would buy the rights from a farm owner and would then be allowed to build more densely than would otherwise be permitted.

While farmers view the TDR program as important to maintaining farms in Riverhead, they’ve requested the town create more receiving areas for those rights.

Lyle Wells, a farmer from Aquebogue and a member of the advisory committee, also suggested the town allow the nature preserves surrounding EPCAL to be farmed.

“We need to get some of it for agricultural use,” Mr. Wells said. “Rather than let it sit and generate nothing. That’s not what was intended for that land.”

That type of plan requires permission from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, officials said.

Mr. Walter described turning EPCAL into a receiving area as “problematic.”

The cost of the development rights, which could be in the millions, plus the cost of the infrastructure, will bring down the price the town can sell the property for, he said.

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