Town approves Peconic Care’s request to begin tree clearing

Peconic Care, the proposed addiction research and rehabilitation center at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, received town approval Wednesday to cut down trees, remove two dilapidated buildings and clear additional land earlier than would normally be permitted on the 40 acre site where it plans to build the six-building, approximately 134,000-square-foot facility.

The project is on land owned by the Engel Burman Group located southwest of the eastern runway at EPCAL.

The Town Board several years ago adopted a law requiring builders to first get a building permit before they could clear land because many developers were clearing the land first, and then not building anything for years.

In Peconic Care’s case, the property is located in an area where the state Department of Environmental Conservation will not allow clearing between April 1 and Nov. 1 because of the presence of the northern long-eared bat, which is considered a threatened species by the state and federal government.

Peconic Care received a preliminary site plan approval from the Town Board on Jan. 17, but has yet to get a final site plan approval.

Chris Kent, the attorney representing Peconic Care, said that even if the Town Board granted final approval at its March 6 meeting, they would not be able to finish the clearing by April 1, and then they wouldn’t be able to began work again until Nov. 1.

The resolution approved Wednesday allows Peconic Care to begin clearing first, but still requires them to obtain a building permit.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio had previously expressed concern that allowing the land clearing first would be precedent setting, but said at the time of the vote that this case was different due to the presence of the northern long-eared bat.

The Town Board vote was 4-0, with Councilwoman Catherine Kent abstaining since her ex-husband Chris Kent represents the applicant.

[email protected]