Residents speak out against large-scale industrial complex proposed for Calverton

The draft environmental impact statement for HK Ventures’ proposed industrial complex in Calverton was the subject of a public hearing before Riverhead’s Planning Board last Thursday. 

HK Ventures has proposed a 412,629-square-foot industrial complex on 30 acres on the south side of Middle Country Road, just east of the Tractor Supply Company store. A town planner described it as “one of the largest industrial subdivisions the town has ever seen.” 

The plan calls for eight industrial-use buildings to be constructed in two phases of four buildings each. 

A 1,500-square-foot cafeteria for use by employees also is proposed for the first phase, and the application includes construction of a sewage treatment plant designed to treat 20,000 gallons of waste per day. 

The applicant is seeking Industrial Development Agency tax exemptions for real property tax, sales tax on construction items and mortgage recording tax, as well as a connection to the Riverhead Water District. 

“Looking at the design, essentially we see the great risk of the Selden-ization of Middle Country Road,” John McAuliff of Riverhead said. “We can imagine projecting forward the impact of this development and other developers.” 

Mr. McAuliff said that if Calverton Aviation & Technology’s plans for the Enterprise Park at Calverton fall through, “it would seem to me that this is the kind of project that ought to be inside of the EPCAL property.”

Former councilwoman Barbara Blass said the property’s Industrial C zoning is meant for moderate-size projects with about 40 employees. This project anticipates the creation of 459 full-time jobs.

She also said the 1,500-square-foot cafeteria would not be big enough for that many employees, who would have to venture off site for lunch.