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Developers outline drug rehab facility planned for EPCAL

About a year and a half after the project received a green light in Town Hall, plans have officially been filed for a 133,000-square-foot alcohol and drug addiction research and rehabilitation facility at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Dubbed Peconic Care, the project would feature on-site 80 beds for patients who would stay between one and two months, according to the applicant, which is a group of scientists, medical professionals and developers. The maximum stay would be 90 days.

“Our program will be the first of its kind in the world,” said Andrew Drazan, chief executive officer of EBDK at Calverton LLC, the applicant.

The people treated at the facility for addiction, who would arrive voluntarily, would be used in the research, making it a unique project, Mr. Drazan said.

“There’s nothing like it around,” Mr. Drazan said. “It’ll be a ground-breaking program with a complete continuum of care. No one has done that any great extent.”

Traditionally in addiction research, the subjects are often taken off the street, such as by a court order, and leave before the research is concluded, according to Dr. Rickard Terenzi, a retired Stony Brook University researcher who spoke in favor of Peconic Care at the Zoning Board of Appeals hearings.

[Related editorial: Drug research center at EPCAL deserves ZBA approval]

The Riverhead Town Board will determine the ultimate fate of the site plan. The board has site plan approval power over projects at EPCAL and in downtown Riverhead; jurisdiction anywhere else lies with the Planning Board.

The ZBA ruled a year and a half ago that such a facility is allowed in the Planned Industrial Park zoning district at EPCAL.

In interviews following the March 2014 ruling, Board members said that they did not plan to vote against the facility, although some had concerns about its location, just south of the active runway on the eastern part of EPCAL.

“I’m not going to oppose it,” Supervisor Sean Walter said at the time. “It’s not going to have people dropped off there and wandering around EPCAL. We will have control over that through the site plan process.”

However, with three Town Board seats up for grabs in November’s election, it’s unclear who will be on the Board by the time it comes to a vote.

The site plan application was originally submitted on July 31 but was deemed incomplete and rejected at the time, according to town building and planning administrator Jeff Murphree. Mr. Drazan said there were incorrect tax map numbers on the original application.

A revised version of the plan was submitted last Thursday.

While Riverhead Town has about 600 acres it’s seeking to sell for redevelopment at EPCAL, this application is not on town-owned land and is instead located on 37 acres owned by the Engel Burman Group, which is a partner in the application, according to Mr. Drazan.

The patients seeking addiction treatment would be there of their own accord, Mr. Drazan said.

“It’s voluntary. They’re not here as part of any court sentence,” he said.

The patients would be under strict supervision and would not be allowed off premises on their own, Mr. Drazan said.

“It’s our job to keep track of every patient who will be there,” Mr. Drazan said. “We advise patients to stay at least 30 days, but they are all of age, so they can leave against medical advise if they want to.”

Initially, most of the patients will be coming from the greater Long Island area, but Mr. Drazan feels that as the reputation and the brand is built up, they might come from other areas, mostly in the New York metropolitan region.

The proposed facility will consist of six buildings designed in a “traditional” campus layout on a 37-acre parcel that’s east of Jan Way and north of River Road.

The plans show a main research building, an extended care building, a fitness building, a music and arts barn and grounds keeper building. They also show a road connecting the facility to River Road as well as access from Jan Way.

Mr. Drazan said the facility will look more like a residence and will not look like a hospital or institution.

The project, formerly called CARE:NY, received a $1 million state economic development grant in December 2014, and it received three licenses from the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in May, Mr. Drazan said. OASAS is the agency that would oversee such a facility. It would conduct at least two inspections per year, Mr. Drazan said.

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