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Calverton warehouse distribution center faces opposition from residents at Planning Board hearing

Riverhead residents raised a litany of concerns to a proposal to construct a large warehouse distribution center in Calverton at hearing before the Planning Board Thursday.

The hearing was technically a “draft public scoping session” on the proposed center that would be located on Middle Road, one of several large developments that threaten to change the landscape of Calverton.

A scoping session allows the public to suggest areas that they think should be examined in a generic environmental impact statement for a project, such as parking or noise, for example.

This application, dubbed “Riverhead Logistics Center,” calls for the construction of a 641,000-square-foot “Class A” warehousing building on 1743 Middle Road. The applicant, NorthPoint Development of Missouri, is seeking to develop 40 acres and proposes a height on buildings of 50 feet. Current zoning only permits a height of 30 feet.

The scoping session had to be continued from an earlier hearing that was adjourned because the board was having difficultly with its Zoom platform.

At the continuation of that hearing Thursday, critics said the town needs to examine the cumulative impact of this application with several other warehouse proposals before the town. Kathy McGraw of Northville cautioned of the “demise of Calverton as we know it” as more than 2 million square feet of warehouse space are slated to be built that developers do not yet have tenants for.

“To move forward on this NorthPoint project without a meaningful examination of all the cumulative impact on the hamlet of Calverton is reckless and a total abandonment of your responsibility to the people of Riverhead,” she said.

Antoine Andrews, a Local 804 Teamsters representative, said they “wants a serious and thorough review of the project” because of how many similar projects are proposed in Calverton. He said the town needs to know what type of warehouse is being proposed.

“Different types of warehouses have different impacts,” he said. “In particular, E-commerce warehouses have impacts around traffic, pollution, parking and noise that are greater than those of traditional warehouses. There is a decent chance that this project will be an E-commerce warehouse.”

Speaking via Zoom, Vincent Schiavone of Riverhead, who said he’s been in corporate management for over 25 years, also said that he did not believe this was a traditional warehouse project. He said the transportation numbers in the draft scope “have no credibility.”

“While I’m pro-business and pro-growth, as they say in the real estate business, location is everything,” he said. “This is the wrong location for the wrong business. … This will forever change Calverton and anybody involved with supporting this project will be forever associated with it.”

Mike Foley of Reeves Park said he was shocked at the number of people in attendance for an afternoon meeting.

“Clearly this project has the attention of the people in his neighborhood,” he said. “I am a retired union member and I thank my union brother. And having a construction union objecting to this is unprecedented.”

The Planning Board closed the hearing for further comments but will accept written comments for 10 days after Sept. 15.