Recreational vehicle park proposed for EPCAL

A proposal for a 100-slot recreational vehicle park, complete with a 100-acre man-made lake, was discussed at last Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session. It was billed as a tourist destination with up to 125 campsites that include an RV pad, a tent area, firepit, grills and tables and hookups to water, sewer and electric.

All 165 acres of the proposed park lie within the 1,600 acres included in Calverton Aviation & Technology’s contract with Riverhead Town, which the town canceled earlier this year and which is now in litigation.

The RV park is being proposed by Mark Lembo of Wading River, who spoke at the work session with his attorney, Steve Losquadro. Mr. Lembo is executive vice president and CEO at Sound Energy Alternatives, a company that proposed an anaerobic digester for converting food waste to energy at EPCAL several years ago. That proposal was rejected by Riverhead’s Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Mr. Lembo said he’s being trying to propose this campground use for about a decade. “I think now the time is right,” he said. 

The proposed man-made lake would be the second at EPCAL, as the recently opened Scott’s Pointe at EPCAL also has a man-made lake.

The proposed RV park would be located northeast of the 10,000-foot EPCAL runway.

Officials said the town would lease out the facility to be operated by a professional RV consulting company, which would enter the picture at the end of construction.  

The RV park use complies with current zoning for the property. Access would be from Route 25.

Officials said there would be a synergy between the RV park and other nearby facilities uses such as Splish Splash, the ice skating rink, the bike and walking trail and Scott’s Pointe.

“It’s a good, wholesome use,” Mr. Losquadro said. “There’s a demand and it can’t be satisfied.”

Mr. Lembo suggested that a certain percentage of the slots in the RV park be set aside for Riverhead Town residents.

“I do have an RV,” said Riverhead Supervisor Tim Hubbard, adding that it’s a very popular activity and it’s difficult getting spots to lease on Long Island. 

“With gas prices being so high, people don’t want to travel far,” Mr. Hubbard said. He called the RV proposal “a home run.”

Councilman Ken Rothwell said the town is in the middle of a $70,000-comprehensive plan update that he wants to see to fruition. 

He raised several questions about the proposal, although he said he supported it. 

“Are you planning on creating a lake by removing sand?” Mr. Rothwell asked. Mr. Losquadro said they were.

Mr. Rothwell said that when the state Department of Environmental Conservation allows sand to be removed, it usually requires the applicant to balance that by using the excavated material elsewhere. 

Mr. Losquadro said those matters will be worked out with the DEC.

Dawn Thomas, Riverhead’s community development administrator, said the proposed lease would require a qualified and eligible sponsor hearing, indicating that the applicant has the financial and ability to carry out the project.