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Riverhead board schedules hearing on fitness of EPCAL developer

A decision on the LLC’s eligibility and qualifications is a key step in moving the $40M project at the Calverton site to the next phase.

Luminati Aerospace wants to use the EPCAL space

Luminati Aerospace wants to use the EPCAL space to expand its operations. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

A hearing that could decide the fate of the proposed $40 million sale of the Enterprise Park at Calverton site will take place next month.

The Riverhead Town Board voted 3-2 Tuesday night at this year’s final regular meeting in Town Hall to approve a resolution for a Jan. 17 public qualified and eligible hearing on the proposed deal.

The hearing will determine whether “Calverton Aviation & Technology LLC” — the name listed on the resolution of the venture between Luminati Aerospace LLC and Canada-based developer Triple Five Ventures Co. LLC — is qualified and eligible to develop the Calverton property.

The board was split on the vote, with some members concerned about details of the current deal.

Town Councilman Tim Hubbard, who voted against the resolution, said the contract was missing clauses to allow hundreds of restricted acres of the property to become developable if they became available in the future. Those acres are now restricted from development under New York State Department of Environmental Conservation rules.

Without such clauses, Hubbard said the town would be giving land away to the developer “at an extremely discounted rate” and he wanted the town to be reimbursed in such a case.

Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio also voted no, saying she wanted to explore other offers for the property. Giglio said she thought Daniel Preston, Luminati’s CEO, “had not lived up to expectations” about job creation promises he had made.

“It has been too long going on, too many extensions without any money down. The town has not prospered in any way, shape or form since the Luminati contract was constructed,” Giglio said.

However, both James Wooten and John Dunleavy, councilmen who voted yes, said the hearing would give the town the chance to ask questions about the deal.

“Just because you come to a [qualified and eligible hearing] doesn’t mean [the land] is yours,” Wooten said. “It gives us a chance and the public a chance to ask questions. ‘Who are you?’ ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Where’s the money coming from?’ ‘What is your plan?’”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter voted for the resolution.

During the public comment period residents voiced opposition.

“It would be better to postpone the hearing and do your homework than be forced to scrub the meeting next month due to a lack of info,” Jamesport resident Phil Barbato told the board.

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