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Planning board votes to add 10 more days to public comment period on EPCAL subdivision

Riverhead Town and venture group Calverton Aviation and

Riverhead Town and venture group Calverton Aviation and Technology are in the midst of a pending $40 million sale of more than 1,600 acres of property at the Enterprise Park at Calverton. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Riverhead officials are keeping a proposal to divide about 2,300 acres of the Enterprise Park at Calverton open for public comment until later this month.

The Riverhead Planning Board voted 4-0 at its Thursday meeting to keep open until May 13 the hearing on a proposed preliminary subdivision map that would divide 2,323.9 acres at the former Calverton Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant into eight lots.

Town officials familiar with the plan said it is needed before the completion of a pending $40 million sale of more than 1,600 acres of the property to venture group Calverton Aviation and Technology. The acreage is part of the 2,300 acres encompassed in the map. 

Frank Isler, an attorney representing the town, said at Thursday's hearing that the proposed subdivision map requires no further environmental review because the map simply outlines which parts the town would keep and which could be sold, not to indicate where development would take place.

“The use of the property is not the issue,” Isler told the board. “We’re just asking if you’re OK with the lines on the map.”

If the planning board approves the subdivision map, Suffolk County and the New York State Department of Conservation would also have to approve it before the town board could eventually sign off on the final version.

However, several residents are opposed to the map.

Barbara Blass, a Jamesport resident and a former planning board member, said that the application is moving at a fast pace and that the current map is missing “sufficient and accurate information.”

“The problem with applications that move at lightning speed is that they tend to skip critical details,” Blass said, noting that there is no illustration of habitat protection areas at the property, or of covenanted or restricted areas. “This application was certainly not ready for prime time.”

Phil Barbato, a Jamesport resident and co-founder of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, asked the board to require the map to undergo a more stringent environmental review under New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act regulations.

Planning board member Joseph Baier said he wanted to give planning staff time to get answers to some of the questions raised at the meeting. Board chairman Stanley Carrey motioned to extend the written comment period for 10 more days. 

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