Home Living Health Town set to approve addiction research and rehab facility at EPCAL

Town set to approve addiction research and rehab facility at EPCAL

Architect's rendering of proposed facility

A 130-bed addiction research and rehabilitation facility proposed for the Calverton Enterprise Park is poised for preliminary approval by the Riverhead Town Board next week.

The state-of-the-art facility will be the first of its kind in the state, Peconic Care Research, Recovery and Rehabilitation Center principal Andrew Drazan told the board at its work session yesterday. In the face of the growing opioid epidemic, the need is dire, he said, citing Suffolk County’s position as the county with the most overdose deaths in the state.

“You’re going to be the first town to do something like this in a very big way,” Drazan said.

Northwell Health is a partner in the facility, which will offer “the most cutting-edge treatments” available, while at the same time researching to understand addiction and why rehabilitation is successful for some people but not others, according to Northwell Health executive vice president Jeffrey Kraut. Every person treated at the facility will be part of research protocols, he said.

Plans include an approximately 101,000-square-foot main building, a 17,000-square-foot short-term stay research building, a fitness center and an arts, crafts and music barn, Riverhead Town planner Karin Gluth told board members yesterday. The facility will be developed on a 40-acre portion of a 95-acre site on Jan Way. The site is part of the Calverton Camelot subdivision developed and owned by Engel Burman Group.

Town planner Karin Gluth, center, reviewed the development plans with town board members and representatives of Peconic Care yesterday at town hall. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The board will take up a resolution Wednesday to grant Peconic Care preliminary site plan approval. The plan has been wending its way through the review process for several years. It faced opposition from former supervisor Sean Walter, who said he thought it was an inappropriate use near an active runway. The board held a hearing on the site plan application in August 2016. Last year, Walter urged the board to require the preparation of a full environmental impact study, a lengthy process. Board members declined.

Peconic Care is seeking benefits from the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency.
Both Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said the applicant told the town it would not seek IDA benefits, but the Drazan yesterday said that was incorrect.

“No we said if we become nonprofit we agree to pay our fair share of taxes,” Drazan said.

“Will you sign a covenant to that effect?” Giglio asked.

“We already have,” he responded.

Drazan said the review process has taken seven years, much longer than they imagined it would take to gain all the necessary approvals. Some of the physicians who made the initial presentations to the town, who were in their 60s, have “aged out,” he said.

“We’re glad that you’re interested in coming here and we’re glad that you’ve put up with us through this process,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith told Drazan. “To be able to have a state-of-the art research facility here that will help or prevent some of the problems that we face in the future — it’s exciting.”

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.