The site of an alleged sand mine on Middle Country Road in Calverton Monday afternoon. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Mining at a Middle Country Road, Calverton site won’t continue pending a Dec. 18 court date.

A State Supreme Court judge on Thursday signed an order granting the Town of Riverhead a preliminary injunction preventing the property owners from excavating and removing sand and materials from the 154-acre site until at least the parties’ next day in court.

The town says the owners, Edward Partridge and T.S. Haulers, have been mining without a permit. The property owners allege they are excavating materials in order to grow Christmas trees, because they will grow better closer to groundwater, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said today. “He says he’s a farmer.”

Walter said the law firm hired by the town to bring the action did a great job. “As we all know, he has a long history with sand mining in the town,
the last time we finally got the court to enjoin him was when he was hauling out the last load,” Walter said.

The owners of the property were in extended litigation with the town in the 1990s and 2000s over their right to mine sand on an adjoining site. The DEC at the time had issued the property owner a mine permit, despite the town’s 1998 ban on sand mines, based on the town Zoning Board of Appeals’ 1997 code interpretation that sand mining was a “non-nuisance industry” for which the owner could be issued a special permit of the town board.

This time, the state DEC has not issued a mining permit but did issue two notices of violation, Walter said. The property owner paid a hefty fine to the state agency, according to the supervisor.

The defendant’s lawyer wanted to stipulate to keeping a temporary restraining order in place while he asked the Riverhead Zoning Board of Appeals for a code interpretation. But the town would not agree.

“Mr. Partridge has to apply to the town board for an excavation permit,” Walter said. “There’s no alternative. No code interpretation is necessary.”

The town is hoping the court will make the injunction permanent.

The law firm of Sinnreich, Kosakoff and Messina is representing the town in the action.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.