Pictured above: The crowd at the last public information session on EPCAL at the Hotel Indigo in May.

As the continued specter of massive industrial development rears its head over Calverton, residents are scheduled to have a chance on Monday, Aug. 7 to weigh in on the proposed 10 million square foot Calverton Aviation & Technology ‘cargo logistics hub’ at EPCAL, during a public information session before the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency after the IDA’s 5 p.m. meeting at Riverhead Town Hall.

The IDA says the meeting, which is not a public hearing but will include a ‘comment period,’ will be limited to two hours. The last time the IDA held a public information session about this project, at the Hotel Indigo Ballroom on May 3, hundreds of people showed up to shout down the developer’s representatives, who attempted to backtrack on their September 2022 proposal to the IDA that the cargo be transported to the site by air.

CAT CEO Justin Ghermezian said later in a RiverheadLocal guest column that a cargo jetport won’t be a part of the company’s plans.

The EPCAL proposal is just one of several large-scale industrial projects proposed in Calverton. A proposal for 641,000 square feet of ‘high cube’ logistics warehouses is proposed on Middle Road, and 412,000 square feet of warehouses are also proposed on Route 25 adjacent to Tractor Supply Company.

The Riverhead Town Board refused to consider an industrial development moratorium urged by a vociferous group of Calverton residents who took to town hall this past winter demanding a pause on development there while the town continues work on updating its Comprehensive Plan, and the other warehouses are currently making their way through the planning process.

Speakers at the Aug. 7 IDA meeting include CAT’s attorneys, Christopher Kent and Peter Curry. CAT representatives Justin Ghermezian and Meg Blakey will also be in attendance, along with architect Alex Badalamenti, engineer Chris Robinson and contractor Joe Petrocelli.

The IDA will provide a Zoom link to participate remotely in the meeting to people who email director@riverheadida.org by the close of business on Friday, Aug. 4, asking for the link if they include their name, address and phone number in the email. The meeting can also be viewed on Channel 22 and its Livestream service.

The Heart of Riverhead Civic Association is also hosting a public update with the community group EPCAL Watch on CAT’s plans for EPCAL at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall at 18 Peconic Avenue in Riverhead on Thursday, August 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  (Doors open at 6 p.m. for conversation and refreshments.)  The agenda is available at https://saveepcal.blogspot.com/2023/07/update-on-epcal.html

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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