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Proposed 131-acre subdivision in Calverton raises concern about potential use, traffic impact

The Riverhead Planning Board held a “scoping” hearing Thursday to determine what issues should be studied by the applicants of a proposed 131-acre subdivision of industrially zoned land just west of Splish Splash in Calverton.

What exactly is proposed for the property remains unclear. The applicant submitted four alternatives. 

• Alternative one is a “no action” alternative.

• Alternative two is a subdivision map that shows a 28 lot in accordance with the property’s Industrial A zoning.

• Alternative three proposed one large industrial lot with no subdivision.

• Alternative four proposed an alternative access plan to the Long Island Expressway.

Town Planner Greg Bergman said that since all of the alternatives involve access from the LIE, the town is instead requiring the applicant to evaluate future Long Island Rail Road access to the site, since the property owner has an easement to allow connection to the LIRR.

The applicant for the proposal, called Calverton Industrial Subdivision, is listed in the application as Bagatelle Associates of East Hills, N.Y., with an email address for Karen Ostad.

The town is recommending the applicant study left turns during peak seasons both from Splish Splash and for the popular Lavender by the Bay farm stand, which is directly across the street from the proposal.

The initial development of the property would consist of construction of an internal roadway system, installation of the stormwater management system, as well as construction of a sewage treatment facility to handle sanitary wastewater. The proposed action would also require extension of the Town of Riverhead Water District, as well as several other town, county and state approvals.

Former Councilwoman Barbara Blass said much more information is needed.

She said the proposal only states that the proposed uses are permitted in the Industrial A zoning category. The applicant fails to show specific uses, she said.

The proposal calls for 2.3 million-square-feet of uses that could range from storage, warehousing or manufacturing or indoor agricultural production, all of which differ significantly in their impacts, she said. 

Ms. Blass said the applicant needs to examine the impact of losing 113 acres of “highly productive agricultural soils in the Calverton area.”

Ms. Blass, who suggested numerous other potential impacts from the proposal, was the only member of the public to speak at the scoping hearing. 

Attorney Keith Archer and senior environmental manager David Wortman attended the hearing on behalf of the applicant, but did not speak.

“Whatever we can do to help everybody in the community is the No. 1 concern,” Planning Board Chair Joann Waski said. “Adding more traffic to that area it’s not a good thing. I’m already receiving phone calls and running into people in the grocery store with all the concern growing about what might be coming there. It is going to have an impact on traffic.”

The Planning Board closed the hearing for additional comments but held it open for written comments until Monday, May 16.

The comments from the scoping hearing will be used to formulate the areas that must be studied in the project’s draft environmental impact study.