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Planning Board tables vote on proposed industrial complex as larger talk begins on similar proposals

While little industrially zoned land has been developed inside the Enterprise Park at Calverton, significant interest remains in industrial land outside the EPCAL fence.

Several large industrial parks have been proposed in Calverton just within the past few years. 

Last Thursday, former Riverhead town councilwoman Barbara Blass said the town Planning Board should review the aggregate impact of these the projects, noting that state law requires a “cumulative” review of similar proposals. The Planning Board had originally intended to vote last week on a resolution to accept a full environmental impact statement for HK Ventures, a 412,569-square-foot commercial/industrial complex proposed for 4285 Middle Country Road in Calverton. Last year, a town planner had called the proposal “one of the largest industrial subdivisions the town has ever seen.” 

Following Ms. Blass’ criticism last week, Planning Board members instead tabled the vote..

She said the town is “in violation of the environmental law by not reviewing the cumulative impacts.”

The three projects in question were essentially warehouses. In addition to HK Ventures, the Planning Board in recent weeks has reviewed two other large industrial proposals in Calverton.

One of those, called Calverton Industrial Subdivision, had been before the Planning Board previously, presenting four options being considered for a 130-acre property on Middle Country Road, just west of Splish Splash. Those options included a “no action” alternative, a 28-lot subdivision map that conforms with zoning, a large industrial lot with no subdivision and an alternative access plan to the Long Island Expressway.

A second proposal, known as Riverhead Logistics Center, came to the Planning Board from Missouri-based NorthPoint Development. That plan involves a 641,000 square-foot “Class A” warehouse facility on 40 acres at 1743 Middle Road in Calverton. 

Most recently, NorthPoint was before the town Planning Board to discuss its environmental impact statement. Ms. Blass also mentioned that the PODS Moving & Storage building on Route 25 recently received Planning Board approval to double the size of its existing 45,212 warehouse there. 

“HK Ventures, [Calverton Industrial Subdivision] and NorthPoint are all impacting the same resources,” Ms. Blass said. 

She also criticized the fact that HK Ventures’ final environmental impact statement wasn’t made available to the public.

Toqui Terchun, president of the Greater Calverton Civic Association, said a group of civic members sent a letter to the town last fall asking for a moratorium on new industrial projects in Calverton. 

Ms. Blass said the HK Ventures EIS wasn’t available to the public until Aug. 3, the day before the Planning Board meeting.

“Who made this decision to sit on this for two and a half months and why?” Ms. Blass asked. 

Planner Greg Bergman said she’s correct about the process taking a long time, but noted that state law doesn’t require a hearing on a final EIS.

Planning Board chair Joann Waski said her concern was with all the truck traffic that would be generated. She also questioned why HK Ventures did its traffic study in February. 

Keith Brown, the attorney for the applicant, said the study was done at a time when school buses were operating, which was what they wanted. 

Mr. Brown said HK Ventures “is a very unique project” that won’t generate a lot of traffic. He said mostly small businesses will work in HK Ventures facilities. 

The project also includes a commissary so employees can stay on premises for lunch.

Mr. Brown said HK Ventures will bring jobs to the area.