Current Press Coverage on EPCAL:
To All Members and Friends of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition,
Your presence is needed at the Town Board Meeting of Dec 19th! Our Town's future must stop being decided behind closed doors, by a lame duck administration. The Coalition Against EPCAL Housing, (theCAEH) of which the RNPC is a member, has called upon the outgoing Town Board and Supervisor to take no further action on sale of EPCAL land to Luminati in association with either of the companies of John Catsimatidis, or the latest partner, the Ghermezian brothers.
The outgoing Board should neither agree to terms of sale nor schedule a "qualified and eligible sponsor" hearing.
Because the public has been kept in the dark about the substance of the sale, including the actual land involved, the complete and definitive "agreement in principle" and proposed sales contract must be made available to the public and press at least two weeks before terms of sale are discussed by the Board and a Q&E hearing is scheduled.
We urge RNPC members and concerned citizens to be present at the final meeting of this board at 7 p.m. on December 19th to insure that no action is taken by a lame duck Administration that constrains the freedom of the new Board and Supervisor to carry out the strongly expressed opinion of voters.
Outgoing Supervisor Sean Walter was in part defeated by Laura Jens-Smith because of the issue of EPCAL. We find it presumptuous that he is seeking to limit the options of his successor by announcing the date of the Q & E hearing and are concerned by the implication that he may seek approval of the terms of sale on December 19th.
In addition we insist that no terms of sale should be finalized unless construction of housing at EPCAL is unambiguously prohibited for the proposed and successive owners. Both the town Board and the Luminati/Catsimatidis/Ghermezian purchasers should be on the record that housing ought to be removed from the EPCAL zoning code at the earliest feasible date.
Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition
The resolution for a public hearing for revising EPCAL zoning permitting housing was NOT submitted to the Town Board at the 7pm meeting on August 15, 2017. It was determined by legal counsel that the resolution would not be suitable at that time.
Residents that attending the Town Board meeting tonight, demanded an explanation for the denial of a public hearing on the issue of housing at EPCAL because the cost of this housing development will be reflected in their taxes. EPCAL was promised to be an economic generator for the Town, bringing well-paying jobs and contributing to the tax base, and NOT a site of permanent housing that will be a tax-negative.
The zoning that was approved in 2016 for the EPCAL area was vague and open-ended. Permitting housing on the EPCAL site will require extensive infrastructure including roads, sewage, water supply, electricity, storm water control, police and rescue to support development that has not been clearly defined. The cost of providing this infrastructure will require significant expenditures by the Town and will ultimately be paid by increasing taxes on residents. In addition, housing places great demands on the School District burdens our crowded school system and increases school taxes.
Remember, Riverhead taxpayers were promised there would never be any housing at EPCAL.
Let's keep that promise.
At the August 15, 2017 Town Board meeting a resolution was planned to be introduced to conduct a public hearing in the near future to consider removing the current Town Code section that allows for residential housing at EPCAL.
The RNPC has been working with The Coalition Against EPCAL Housing (theCAEH), along with several other civic associations, to remove housing from the uses allowed in the current zoning at EPCAL. It was hoped that this will become a reality.
The resolution was planned to be introduced one of 2 ways:
1. As a scheduled, reviewed resolution; it would appear as a part of the meeting agenda.
2. Or the resolution would be introduced "off the floor" as an amendment to the meeting agenda.
The RNPC had strongly recommended residents to come to Town Hall on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 to start the process to change the zoning language to be adopted.
It is important that the 3 council members [Giglio, Dunleavy, and Hubbard] who support the coalition's position on housing, to see and hear support from the larger communities we represent.
The future of our Town is being decided behind
closed doors and we need to get answers
before it's too late.
Sean Walter has been deliberating behind closed doors for weeks now on the intended deal to sell all of the remaining EPCAL acreage for a reported $40 million. While this sounds like a lot of money for the Town, there are several important questions to which he has not provided answers - not even to the Town Council.
Hey Sean! What's the big secret? The taxpayers of Riverhead were promised that EPCAL would be an economic generator. But, there has been no information forthcoming on how this will occur. On its surface selling all that land for an average of about $16,000 per acre doesn't sound like a great deal.
What land is being sold and who is it being sold to?
We need to see a map with the boundaries of the property to be sold, the controlling zoning district(s), and a list of the buyers. There seems to be a mysterious "other buyer" besides Luminati.
Why isn't housing prohibited indefinitely for this potential owner/owners, and all future owners?
We all know that housing is a net loss to any town's budget and a drain on the taxpayers.
Why does the deal include so much supposedly "undevelopable" land, possibly 1400 acres?
Can these become developeable in the future? Will there be a legal guarantee that no development what-so-ever occurs on these lands in the future? Why hasn't the Town considered retaining ownership of those acres and creating a nature preserve and/or park. Was the scenic and rare natural value of those acres, to current and future citizens of the Town, given serious consideration and why is the Town placing so low a value on those acres?
What existing covenants and restrictions on the land will become part of the contract?
What is the value of any saleable Pine Barrens Credits being conveyed to the new owner?
What is the continuing role of the NYSDEC in relation to this contract of sale and the future use of the land?
How will the NYSDEC continue to review future plans for the entire site and control endangered species protection areas?
What is the status of the long-term lease between the Town and the car storage company (AIA)?
Will that lease, estimated at $50,000 per year, transfer to the new owner(s)? Will storage of similar wreckage be permitted in the future?
What are the real, net, tax consequences of this sale?
That is, what tax exemptions will be given to the new owners(s), what taxes will be paid, and how will this impact the Town and School budgets and the tax bills of the other residents of the Town?
The draft contract has already been sent out to the buyers. The time for us to TAKE ACTION is NOW. Make your voices heard.
Photos courtesy of Design Plus
Related Documents & Media Links
For links to other EPCAL websites and to read more on the current and background information on this important issue:
Go to the next page EPCAL on this website or click on these fast links.