Town Board has created a zoning code called "Planned Development" which allows for mixed uses at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) although the public voiced objections and concern about the inclusion of housing and retail as well as the vague descriptions of allowable land uses at the site. Despite this, a 50 lot subdivision was formed from the last remaining 2300 acres of Town-owned land at EPCAL. More recently, the Town announced it has agreed to sell the entire subdivision to a single developer.
It's vital to remember that the Riverhead taxpayers were promised that there would never be any housing at EPCAL. Housing does not lead to economic development because every home costs the taxpayers more than those homeowners pay in property taxes. Housing will also worsen the burden on our crowded school system and increase school taxes as a result. Homes do not mix well with commercial/industrial development which will inevitably lead to conflicts between residents and businesses. Open space, on the other hand, is not a tax burden and increases the value of already developed land. We currently have an inventory of empty houses as well as planned housing in downtown Riverhead that will be available to potential future employees at EPCAL. But, creating broad, mixed-use zoning will only serve the purpose of potential developers and will lead to residential development at EPCAL that will be very expensive to us taxpayers. There should be no housing built at EPCAL.
Furthermore, the taxpaying public has been given precious little information concerning the future plans for development of this huge piece of Town land. Over the past two decades, there have been several potential EPCAL development deals announced by the Town. None have come to fruition. The latest deal, announced on March 30th, which would turn over the remaining 2300 acres of town-owned land to a single developer. It is for $5 million less than the previous deal and gives 1700 acres more. All of this land is regulated by the new Town Code which allows housing. This is a huge deal about which the citizens have been told very few details. We remind the Town Board that this is public land. The Town of Riverhead and the latest purchaser must hold a series of public information meetings, where residents can ask questions about the company and the proposed development, as well as tour the area being sold. The public must be included in the process.
Photo courtesy of Design Plus
Click on the link below to visit the website Citizens Against Housing at EPCAL where you will find more on this developing situation regarding the subdivision application and potential for large housing developments for the EPCAL property.
For more current information on EPCAL, click on this link to this press article:
For more on the history of EPCAL over the years since the property was given to the Town of Riverhead by the Navy and links to download additional EPCAL documents and the EPCAL subdivision maps go to the EPCAL History page link on the menu at the top or base of this page or click here
The Citizens Against Housing at EPCAL group working on the EPCAL housing zoning potential uses has been working on a strategy to eliminate the possibility of residential development there. A template letter to send to the Riverhead Town Board or to the media was created that may be used and customized by anyone to comment on this situation. Your review, comment, and use are welcomed.
For a copy of the letter in Word format click here.
For a copy of the letter in PDF format click here.
The text of the EPCAL template letter is reproduced here:
The Town Planning Board held a hearing on the preliminary subdivision application for the EPCAL property on 1/5/17. The hearing was closed on that date, and the hearing record was left open for 10 days for written comments. This project would subdivide 2,323.9 acres of land into 50 individual lots for a mix of uses including commercial, retail, industrial, residential, recreation, and utilities. The subdividing and subsequent sale of land at EPCAL has long been anticipated to provide economic development to our Town. It must be carefully and diligently implemented in order to realize this goal.
However, there is some concern that the necessary controls are not being placed on this subdivision approval. This is an unusual subdivision, in that it is not owned by a private party but, rather, by the Town of Riverhead itself. In addition, the zoning that was previously approved for this area is quite general and open-ended. Further, the infrastructure that would be required (roads, sewage, water supply, electricity, stormwater control) to support development is similarly not defined or specified, or installed. Providing this infrastructure will require significant expenditures by the Town. Permitting housing on the EPCAL site will place demands on the School District
The Planning Board members provided verbal assurances that these issues would be properly dealt with as the lots are sold over the coming years and decades. However, we believe that verbal assurances from current Town representatives will not be sufficient to ensure compliance in the future. We believe that specific written conditions must be placed on any approval of this subdivision so that they would apply to every lot as it is sold.