Catsimatidis plans new projects; locals want big trucks banned

URT owner John Catsimitedes
URT owner John Catsimitedes

United Riverhead Terminal owner John Catsimatidis and vice chair Nelson Happy said there are several large projects they are considering in Riverhead Town, but they also said “a pro business environment is very helpful” for those projects to move forward.

Speaking at a Riverhead Town Board public hearing on a proposed 8-ton weight limit for vehicles using Twomey Avenue in Calverton, Mr. Catsimatidis and Mr. Happy said they are considering building a power generating plant at their United Metro terminal at the Enterprise Park at Calverton that would function at peak energy consumption time periods.

They also are considering connecting their EPCAL plant with their Northville oil terminals through a pipeline, which they said would eliminate trucks from the roads.

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In addition, they said they are hoping to connect to the EPCAL rail spur, a $5.5 million project which still only serves one business, in order to take more trucks off the road.

United Riverhead Terminal ran into major opposition from Northville residents recently when it proposed to convert two oil tanks into gasoline tanks. The company has since withdrawn the application.

Supervisor Sean Walter said he followed one of their trucks and found it using the residential Twomey Avenue instead of using county or state roads that are more suited for heavy truck traffic. The supervisor said that’s where the proposal for the weight limit come from.

“My concern is, before I authorize spending tens of millions of dollars, I just want to make sure that the town does the right thing by everybody, not just by 12 people that object to having bad scenery,” Mr. Catsimatidis said.

“Yeah, bad scenery!” Mr. Catsimatidis exclaimed. “I had somebody complain that they don’t like the way the tanks look.”

“We have to listen to some of our residents and their concerns and you have to help us by answering their concerns,” Councilman John Dunleavy responded.

Opinion: Weight limits needed on local roads

While the subject of the hearing was on imposing a weight limit on Twomey Avenue, several speakers said they wanted to see weight limits imposed on numerous other town roads leading to and from United Riverhead, including Edwards Avenue in Calverton, Sound Shore Shore in Northville (which is the road United Riverhead is located on), Pennys Road (which connects Sound Shore Road to Sound Avenue), West Lane in Aquebogue and Sound Avenue.

Neil Krupnick, the president of the Northville Beach Civic Association, brought a picture of 24-wheel URT truck trying to pull out of Pennys Road onto Sound Avenue, with the front of the truck extended into the oncoming traffic lane.

A petition signed by 175 people called for weight limits on “all local roads,” according to former Northville Beach Civic Association president Mary Yarusso.

But other speakers such as Gregory Springer said the town is putting people out of business by imposing weight limits everywhere.

“We’re not looking to put you out of business,” Councilman Jim Wooten told Mr. Springer.

“I’m already out of business,” Mr. Springer responded.

Mr. Happy said URT supports the Twomey Avenue weight restriction and has prohibited their drivers from using it.

Board members took no action on voting on the proposal following the hearing, and said they made do a traffic study to try and identify where truck routes should be located in town.