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Town could exclude EPCAL from lighting code

During a site plan discussion at the Riverhead work session last Thursday, a new question emerged for board members: should lighting at the industrial Enterprise Park at Calverton be dark-sky compliant?

Laoudis Of Calverton LLC, which owns the Mivila Foods facility on Burman Boulevard, is seeking to install an overhead door, remove an exit door and install two exit doors on an existing building.

The project also includes replacing a grassy area with asphalt to provide access to the overhead door, drainage area and parking lot restriping.

Several issues must be addressed before a site plan is approved, including exterior lighting.

Existing flood lights on the corner of the building and other lighting on site, such as pole-mounted parking lot lighting, would have to be upgraded to comply with the town’s dark skies lighting code, according to town planner Karin Gluth.

Other EPCAL applicants have had to bring their lighting into compliance, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said, and this can’t be an exception.

The town could opt to exclude the requirement at EPCAL. 

“Which might be a good idea because it is an industrial park and you need security there. There’s been a lot of heavy equipment that’s been stolen,” Ms. Giglio said.

Project architect Jim DeLucca said bringing the existing lighting into compliance would result in a “massive” cost increase.

“That would be something you go to the Zoning Board of Appeals for,” Ms. Giglio said. “We have to be consistent.”

Town building and planning administrator Jefferson Murphree said lighting fixtures don’t have to be replaced entirely. “They have shields that go over existing floodlights at minimal costs,” he said.

“It’s not as simple as just changing a bulb. That’s not true,” Mr. DeLucca shot back, noting that the code sets lighting requirements for height, lumens and degrees Kelvin.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said any new lighting should be compliant, which Mr. DeLucca said was “reasonable.”

The board may consider granting conditional site plan approval so work could begin on the doors while they come to a decision on the lighting.

“I think the board is in agreement to look at the code,” Ms. Jens-Smith said, indicating the discussion would continue at an upcoming work session.

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