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EPCAL development gets crucial approval from state

The EPCAL site in Calverton. (Jan. 31, 2008)

The EPCAL site in Calverton. (Jan. 31, 2008) Credit: The Nature Conservancy / Trish Pelkowski

Riverhead Town, after more than two years of trying, has gotten permission from the state to issue a comprehensive environmental review of all new development at the town-owned Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The site has thousands of acres where prime undeveloped industrial property can be found within a stone’s throw of environmentally sensitive wetlands and habitats for endangered species.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill yesterday that allows Riverhead to issue a generic environmental statement detailing how development must take place to protect fragile adjoining lands, and to write the zoning to allow that development.

Town Supervisor Sean Walter said that, with environmental issues finally resolved, the town could begin selling land at EPCAL before the end of next year, and that new project approval could be given within 90 days of an application.

“This legislation is going to give EPCAL the competitive and economic edge that it needs in the marketplace,” Walter said.

State Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who has a long record of protecting the environment and who worked on the legislation, said it took a lot of work to hammer out what needs to be protected and what can be developed at EPCAL.

“This signals that the last major economic development site on Long Island will be able to attract add to the tax base of Riverhead and provide jobs for all of eastern Long Island.

Riverhead owns about 2,400 acres of undeveloped land at EPCAL, and Walter said about 60 percent of it will be preserved. About 600 acres are available for development as a high-tech commercial/industrial hub, and some land has been set aside for parks and recreational use.

Kevin Law, chief executive of the Long Island Association, called the redevelopment at EPCAL “crucial to the economic future” of Riverhead and all of Long Island.

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