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Town proposes outdoor car storage plan, but residents in Calverton oppose

The Riverhead Town Board has scheduled a public hearing for Feb. 2 on a proposal to designate certain areas where new cars can be stored with a special permit.

The Feb. 2 meeting starts at 2 p.m. and the public can participate online through the Zoom app or by phone. 

So far, the proposal has been unpopular with Calverton residents.

The proposal would allow new motor vehicle storage conducted in conjunction with car dealers that have established businesses within the Town of Riverhead. 

The car storage lots are restricted to properties zoned Industrial A and are limited to the north side of Middle Country Road and Old Country Road, and east and south of Manor Road and the west side of Twomey Avenue in Calverton. 

The proposal also prohibits the clearing of trees to establish a parking area, and requires buffers and setbacks. 

The board previously discussed the proposal at a work session in late December.

Councilman Tim Hubbard said at that work session that car dealers are under pressure from manufacturers to take more cars. He said car storage is a more benign use than manufacturing or warehousing.

Mr. Hubbard said that a few years ago there were cars being stored all over town, including at EPCAL.

“Our car dealers play a big role in our town,” he said. “It’s important to help them out.”

Councilwoman Catherine Kent said she didn’t like the areas chosen for car storage, which are mostly farms. 

She suggested EPCAL. Planning aide Greg Bergman said officials looked into using EPCAL but felt the property should be a jobs generator. Officials said the town and EPCAL businesses went to court a few years ago for storing cars on a lot at EPCAL without approvals. 

Mr. Bergman said that under the worst case scenario, only 39 acres would be affected by this proposal.

Ms. Kent expressed concern that Calverton residents have been impacted by many large projects in recent years. 

The town has received several letters from Calverton residents opposed to the proposal. 

“This proposal is by any measure undesirable for every Calverton resident, all of whom will be adversely affected,” Walter Gezari wrote. 

“Of all the bad ideas heaped on the residents of Calverton, this is one of the worst,” Debbie Ma wrote. “This is Calverton, not some back lot in Jamaica, Queens.”

“This is not a good idea for our community because it creates no jobs, it is an eyesore, and a terrible representation of the beauty this is our community,” Roseann and Frank Forziano wrote.