EPCAL. It used to be an old Grumman property. It is mostly wooded and falls within the heart of the Long Island Pine Barrens Core Preservation area, where development is not supposed to be allowed. However read on how Riverhead is in cohoots with a developer to put a huge Ski Mountain and numerous large buildings here, instead of turning this land into a park or wind farm. This is the largest project ever proposed in the pine barrens and it's impacts will be devastating, from trash, traffic, pollution, and contamination of the aquifer in which we rely on for fresh water.
Here's the latest news:
RIVERHEAD GOES BACK TO COURT TO FIGHT EPCAL REVIEW
Hearing Set on Whether Parties to Pine Barrens Suit May Appeal
For Immediate Release Contact: Richard Amper (631) 369-3300
The Town of Riverhead’s battle to keep environmentalists out of the development review process
for projects proposed for the town’s Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) returns to New
York State Supreme Court, September 25, for a hearing on whether parties to the Town’s lawsuit
against the New York State Pine Barrens Commission can appeal the lower court decision
in the case.
Riverhead claims the State Attorney General’s office cannot appeal the March 31 decision of
Supreme Court Justice Paul Baisley, Jr. due to a time restriction, because the Attorney General,
who represents the Pine Barrens Commission, did not appeal the decision within 30 days of the
Town’s having served a Notice of Entry in the matter. However, the Attorney General’s office
said it never received such notice from the Town, and the Town admits it never sent such a notice
to the Long Island Pine Barrens Society or Island Water Park, two intervenors in the case
that were also required to have received notice from the Town.
When the Pine Barrens Society filed Notice of Entry and a Notice of Appeal on May 16, the Pine
Barrens Commission, represented by the Attorney General’s office, filed a timely Notice of Appeal.
Both appeals are being “perfected” (arguments provided to the Appellate Division court
and the parties to the case) and a docket number for the appeal has been issued by the appeals
“It’s clear that Riverhead will do anything and everything to keep other branches of government
and environmentalists out of the review process of EPCAL projects,” said Pine Barrens Society
Executive Director, Richard Amper. Last week, more than two dozen groups protested the
scheduled September 17 “scoping” hearing on the next EPCAL project scheduled for review –
the 300-acre Industrial Park known as REPCAL. They said Riverhead Town should have provided
the public with information on the development when they issued the hearing notice. Most
groups still haven’t seen the plan for which they are supposed to provide information on the
scope of review on Wednesday.
“Riverhead is doing its utmost to keep the public out of the review process, which is precisely
what we warned about when we opposed the Town’s serving as ’lead agency’ in proposed development
at EPCAL,” an exasperated Amper said. “The town’s conflict of interest in reviewing
projects they stand to make money on has reached the point where they’re discouraging citizens
with strong views and valuable input on these projects from participating in the review
process,” he added.
The EPCAL site lies in the Central Pine Barrens in a state-designated Special Groundwater Protection
Area. The site has been documented as containing the greatest number of rare and endangered
plants and animals anywhere in New York State.
The hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. in Judge Baisley’s courtroom in Riverhead, September 25.
GROUPS WARN RIVERHEAD THREATENS ENVIRONMENT
Say Activity at EPCAL Poses Serious Threat;
Lingering Lawsuit Imperils Pine Barrens
For Release: January 24 Contact: Richard Amper (631) 369-3300
News Conference: Thursday, January 24, noon, western entrance Enterprise Park at
Calverton, Grumman Blvd, south side of EPCAL site.
Ten major environmental groups warn that recent actions by the Town of Riverhead at its Enterprise
Park at Calverton pose serious threats to the environment in the Pine Barrens, there.
They say that a lingering lawsuit is undermining protection of drinking water and preservation of
critical habitat, while the town seeks to avoid laws designed to protect a regional resource.
At a noon news conference at the site, environmentalists charged that Riverhead is advancing a
spate of threatening development projects without proper environmental review. Complaints
include town efforts to alter the boundaries of the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act
along the Peconic River, take environmental review away from the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation for a project to construct a combination Water-ski Park and ATV
track in a state-designated Special Groundwater Protection Area and to sell 755 acres of land at
EPCAL for construction of facilities such as a 350-foot indoor ski mountain, a 90-acre artificial
lake, eight resort complexes, a 100,000-square foot convention center, 2000 hotel rooms and
3500 time share units. “We feel that economic development can and must go hand-in-hand with
environmental protection for the benefit of our planet and our community,” said Jennifer Skilbred
of the Group for the East End. “We must continue to work to preserve our rural heritage and to
avoid the negative impacts of drastically increased traffic, sewage and energy use on both the
East End environment and our East End way of life,” she added.
Compounding the problem is a lingering lawsuit brought by Riverhead against the New York
State Pine Barrens Commission. The suit challenges the Commission’s jurisdiction over the
EPCAL property. A temporary restraining order imposed last May by State Supreme Court Justice
Paul Baisley, Jr. has prevented the Commission from reviewing any development at EPCAL.
State law prohibits Temporary Restraining Orders against “a board or municipal corporation
of the state to restrain the performance of statutory duties,” (as by the Pine Barrens Commission,)
and TROs which are permitted are usually short-term.
Pine Barrens Society Executive Director Richard Amper said, “Riverhead is advancing massive
development in the Pine Barrens with no regional review at enormous threat to drinking water
and habitat, while a judge sits on what was to have been a brief injunction against the state
agency charged with protecting Long Island’s premier ecosystem.” The environmentalists
called for an immediate ruling and an appeal if necessary “before irreparable damage is done.”
“Some of the biggest and most environmentally-threatening projects ever proposed for the Pine
Barrens are moving ahead without the required environmental review,” Amper added.
Peconic BayKeeper Kevin McAllister was particularly concerned about threats to the Peconic
River and Peconic Estuary. “Continued discharge into McKay Lake and overflow into the Peconic
River is unacceptable,” he said, “and town efforts to alter the boundaries of the Wild, Scenic
and Recreational River Act in the Peconic watershed for still more over-development poses
additional threats to the Peconic River and Peconic Bay.”
Concern about development activity at EPCAL has spilled over into neighboring Brookhaven
Town. Maryann Johnston, president of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization said,
“ABCO and its 40-member community coalition are committed to saving our natural environment
from irresponsible development. We take great pride in becoming a part of this important
grassroots coalition to restore reason and common sense to the EPCAL decision process.”
On the political front, Anthony Coates, Board Member of the Long Island Environmental Voters
Forum expressed shock and dismay. “Our group endorsed and worked to elect Riverhead
Town Supervisor Phillip Cardinale,” he said, “but in the four years he’s been in office the economic
situation for tax payers has only grown worse and the town has become a wrecking crew
targeting the environment.”
Dan Morris of the Open Space Council summarized the groups’ concern. “It’s just plain wrong
for the town that owns the property, selects the buyers, and shares in the profits to also take
charge of the environmental review – it’s Long Island’s greatest conflict-of-interest ever. Also
expressing concern about unchecked development at EPCAL and attending the news conference
are: The Nature Conservancy, The Audubon Society, North Fork Environmental Council,
Coalition for Open Space at Calverton.
Peter A. Scully, NYSDEC Stony Brook (631) 444-0345
Chairman, New York State Pine Barrens Commission.
What is the effect of this suit on Pine Barrens protection?
What is Riverhead’s behavior with respect to the environment?
Phillip Cardinale, 200 Howell Avenue, Riverhead (631) 727-3200
Supervisor, Town of Riverhead
Is Riverhead pushing through massive development without proper environmental review?
Why is the town suing to avoid review of development in the Pine Barrens by the Commission?
Norman Spiegal, 120 Broadway, New York (212) 416-8484
Principal Attorney, New York State Pine Barrens Commission
What’s the biggest problem with Riverhead’s lawsuit against the Pine Barrens Commission?
Should the judge have made a decision or lifted the restraining order against the Commission?
Paul J. Baisley, Jr. NYS Supreme Court, Griffing Avenue, Riverhead (631) 852-3888
Judge presiding in Riverhead lawsuit against Pine Barrens Commission
Why has a decision in the case taken so long?
Are you aware of the environmental problems the delay has caused?
Mitchell Pally, Weber Law Group 201 North Service Rd. Melville ((631)549-2000
Sponsor of proposed EPCAL project involving ski mountain, resorts and artificial lake.
Is this project too big and threatening for development in the Pine Barrens?
Do you oppose review of the project by the New York State Pine Barrens Commission?
Litigation: Town of Riverhead versus Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission,
NY State Supreme Court, Riverhead, Index Number 07-14186, TRO date 5/03/07.
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|Riverhead Resorts with Ski Mountain and numerous large buildings|
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In: Your Say
Tags: Riverhead Resorts, Riverhead, Cardinale, Calverton, Pine Barrens, Grasslands, Environment, Destruction, Traffic, Pollution, Long Island, Suffolk County, EPCAL, New York
Location: Calverton, New York, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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