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Planning Board approves eight-lot subdivision at EPCAL

The Riverhead Planning Board Thursday voted to approve a preliminary plat to subdivide 2,107 acres at the Enterprise Park at Calverton into eight lots.

Four board members unanimously approved the resolution with member Joseph Baier absent.

The subdivision is needed in order for Calverton Aviation & Technology to buy 1,643 acres of land from Riverhead Town to build a commercial and aviation uses at the EPCAL site.

Last month, CAT indicated that it plans to move forward with the $40 million purchase of land.

Prior to reviewing the eight-lot proposal, the town was working on a 50-lot subdivision of the same property.

After the subdivision lines changed, the town contended that the state Environmental Quality Review Act studies done for the prior subdivision applied to the current eight-lot subdivision.

That was a source of contention during a public hearing in May, when several speakers including Barbara Blass, who served over 19 years on the town Planning Board, and Phil Barbato, a 17-year former state Department of Environmental Conservation engineer, claimed that changes to the subdivision did not address impacts to environmentally sensitive areas.

The eight lots include 292 acres of protected Pine Barrens, existing baseball fields, the Grumman memorial, a recharge area for the Calverton Sewer District and Henry Pfeifer Community Center. The remaining three lots would be sold to CAT and the existing EPCAL bike path that surrounds the property would continue to be owned and maintained by the town, according to building and planning administrator Jefferson Murphree.

Kathy McGraw of Northville addressed the board before they voted on the measure, asking for the resolution to be tabled. “I think this is unfair to the public,” she said, asking for more time for residents to comment.

Planning Board chair Stan Carey disagreed, noting that the subdivision process has been “well vetted,” and the public has had ample time to make comments.

“The fact that the town has a contract with someone to purchase some of the lots really has no bearing on our decision here,” he said. “Whether or not you like or dislike the proposed sale of the property, this board has no authority over.”

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