Coalition Against EPCAL Housing (CAEH)
Very few citizens of Riverhead noticed when theTown Board recently adopted new zoning for land use at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL), the Planned Development (PD) Zoning Use District. The newly adopted zoning allows construction of residential housing at EPCAL, units that could be built in support of a “principal use”. The broad, murky definition of “principal use” permits 600 or more homes to be constructed at the EPCAL site. These homes will cost us money by increasing our school and property taxes. The US Navy gave the former Grumman site to the Town of Riverhead in 1998 under an agreement that the town would use the property for economic development. Such development would increase the tax base, maximize job creation and attract private investment, while enhancing the quality of life for the community. In 2016, Riverhead adopted a new Reuse and Revitalization Plan for EPCAL. With the release of the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by VHB Engineering and approved by the Town Board, language emerged that residential housing in support of a principal use be allowed. There was no serious public debate or consultation with community stakeholders about this dramatic and likely to be irreversible change. During its peak activity the Grumman Corporation had 4000 employees at the Calverton site without the need for “supportive” housing. Much larger industrial parks across Long Island do not provide housing. If economic development is the true goal of EPCAL, residential housing does not benefit the people of Riverhead. It is simply a gimmick to enable ill-conceived short term profit. Over the past five years, Riverhead school district enrollment has increased dramatically. The addition of residential housing at EPCAL could greatly impact our schools, placing more children in each classroom and taxing a school district that is already stressed and at capacity. EPCAL is being marketed to developers as a tax free zone. Placing tax increases for development of supportive residential use, infrastructure and schooling on current homeowners back. We need to know whether “principal use” homes will also be tax free. Employees of a “principal use” will be free to remain as owners of their homes after employment ends, even to sell them to non-“principal use” buyers. Once homes are in place, residents will object to any further commercial and industrial development that could detract from their living environment and property values, impeding an already challenging market for job generating sites. Join us to say no to housing anywhere at EPCAL. Planned Development Zoning must be amended to repeal Supportive Use No. 1 so housing is never an option. [Section 301-341 B. (1)] Any contract for sale of land at EPCAL must explicitly forbid construction of housing now or in the future by the buyer and any successors.