State fines former sand mine owners in Calverton

The owners of a former sand mine in Calverton must pay $5,000 in fines and $15,000 to the Long Island Groundwater Study under the terms of a consent order issued recently by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. 

An additional $30,000 penalty against the company will be suspended to ensure compliance with a waste reduction compliance schedule for the property, according to the DEC.

The $15,000 will be paid to the U.S. Geological Survey’s New York Water Science Center and applied to the groundwater study.

The 51-acre Calverton Industries property on the south side of Route 25 in Calverton is currently being subdivided as part of a plan for a 5.1-acre parcel fronting Route 25 that will have a Tractor Supply Co. retail store and three other retail buildings.

The sand mine, operated on the property by Sky Materials, ceased operating as of Dec. 7, 2010, but Sky Materials has DEC permits for construction and demolition debris processing there.

Specifically, it is permitted to receive and process uncontaminated concrete, asphalt, rock, brick and soil, as well as unadulterated wood, composting and tree and land clearing debris, according to the DEC.

The DEC says that, over an 18-month period, Sky Materials took in more debris than its permit allowed and also exceeded the amount of vegetative waste it was permitted to bring to the site.

The DEC consent order requires Sky Materials to “cease and desist” from further violations of environmental conservation law and requires them to establish an “onsite waste reduction plan” within 60 days of the order, which was signed on March 13 by Sky Materials president Michael Cholowsky and on April 16 by DEC regional director Carrie Meek Gallagher.

The company cannot accept any new material until the waste reduction plan is approved by DEC, and the approved plan must have an inventory and map describing each pile of material onsite, a schedule for processing and removing them from the site, a plan to process and reuse material that is mainly soil and a provision that new concrete, asphalt, rock, brick and soil brought to the site be limited to half the amount removed.

The plan also must include a final deadline for processing of these materials at the site.

The topic of the consent order was discussed briefly at last Thursday’s Riverhead Town Planning Board meeting, where the subdivision and retail plans for the site were the subject of a public hearing.

Eshwar Kosuri, an engineer representing the applicant, New England Retail Properties, said the firm recently signed the consent order and has 60 days to start implementing the items listed in it.

“We are working with the DEC,” Mr. Kosuri said.

The site plan calls for Tractor Supply Co. — a national chain that sells tractor supplies, lawn and garden equipment, hardware and other items — to occupy a proposed 19,097-square-foot building toward the back of the parcel. Three other buildings — one of 9,450 square feet and two at 4,000 square feet — will be on the east side of Tractor Supply. All four buildings will be retail, but no tenants have been lined up yet for the smaller structures, according to the applicant.

No one from the public spoke at either the site plan or subdivision hearings for the project. New England Retail Properties hopes to buy the 5.1 acres from Calverton Industries once it is subdivided.

Calverton Industries and Riverhead Town were involved in litigation dating back to the 1990s and a 2006 court ruling gave Calverton Industries the right to develop the property under its previous Business CR zoning, which permits retail uses.

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