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Big box national retailer coming to Calverton: Tractor Supply Co. site plan gains preliminary approval

Tractor Supply Co. sells a wide variety of goods, including small animal products; hardware, truck, towing and tool products; heating, lawn and garden items, power equipment, gifts and toys; work/recreational clothing and footwear; and maintenance products. Photo: Tractor Supply Co.

A 51,547-square-foot retail center on Middle Country Road in Calverton gained preliminary site plan approval from the Riverhead Planning Board Thursday.

The new center to be located on a 10-acre parcel opposite Fresh Pond Avenue will consist of four buildings in a campus-style layout. The largest building on that lot — a 19,097-square foot building with an attached 15,000-square-foot, fenced outdoor sales area — will be the site of the national retailer Tractor Supply Co.

The three other buildings — one 9,450-square-foot building and two 4,000-square-foot buildings — will house other retail uses.

Tractor Supply Company is “the largest operator of rural lifestyle retail stores in the United States,” according to the company website. The publicly traded company, headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, operates more than 1,600 retail stores in 49 states, located primarily in towns outlying major metropolitan markets and in rural communities. It sells equine, livestock, pet and small animal products; hardware, truck, towing and tool products; seasonal products, including heating, lawn and garden items, power equipment, gifts and toys; work/recreational clothing and footwear; and maintenance products for agricultural and rural use.

The 10-acre road-front parcel is one of two parcels to be created by a still-pending subdivision application seeking to divide a 51.8-acre property where a controversial sand mine was once operated by Calverton Industries. The other parcel to be created by the subdivision is the 41-acre site where the now-reclaimed sand mine is located.

The subdivision is being developed under pre-master plan Business CR and Industrial B zoning, pursuant to a stipulation entered between the town and Calverton Industries in 2002. The stipulation ended a years-long lawsuit between the town and landowner Calverton Industries over the company’s right to mine the land. The settlement allowed Calverton Industries to continue to mine for five more years and also required the company to pay the town a $1.25 million fine.

The Middle Country Road site of Calverton Industries and Sky Materials. File photo: Peter Blasl

The planning board last night also made a determination under the State Environmental Quality Review Act that the subdivision and proposed development will not have any adverse environmental impact.

The Calverton Industries site was considered reclaimed in 2010, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which regulates mining in N.Y. state. The excavation site was filled, under DEC supervision, with inspected loads of recognizable, uncontaminated concrete, asphalt, rock, brick and soil (RUCARBS), according to the state agency.

Town planners required the applicant to submit reports on soil and groundwater testing done on the site, including the southern 41-acres where the mine is situated. Water testing indicated that the samples were “well below detection limits for all compounds.” Soil test samples revealed higher than allowed amounts of some pesticides (DDD, DDE and DDT), metals (copper and zinc), and PCBs.

There is also a registered processing facility at the site operated by Sky Materials, which processes RUCARBS, tree debris and unadulterated wood, and a yard waste composting facility. Sky Materials on April 16 signed a consent order with DEC in connection with excessive quantities of RUCARBS being stored at the site in violation of Sky Material’s registration limits, according to DEC documents. The consent order includes a five-year waste reduction plan for the site.

The consent order also mandates the payment of a $50,000 penalty, with $5,000 payable to the DEC upon signing of the consent order, $15,000 payable to the USGS-New York Water Science Center earmarked for the LI Groundwater Study and $30,000 “suspended” provided Sky Materials complies with the terms and conditions of the consent order regarding waste reduction, tracking and reporting.

Sky Materials cannot receive new material until the materials reduction plan is approved and must apply for a permit from the DEC to transition the existing facility into the new solid waste management regulations, the DEC said.

Sky Materials pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter on March 29, 2017 in connection with an employee’s death at a Manhattan construction site in 2015. The company agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and received a conditional discharge, with the condition being no new arrests for three years, according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney.  As part of the same plea bargain, Sky also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of offering a false instrument for filing in connection with the 2016 charges that the company lied about its payroll to save on workers’ compensation premiums.

Though the charges against the corporation were disposed by the plea deal more than a year ago, felony charges alleging insurance fraud and filing a false instrument remain pending against Sky Materials president Michael Cholowsky. He was indicted along with the corporation in February 2016 after an investigation into the April 2017 death of a 22-year-old Sky Materials employee. Prosecutors charged Cholowsky and Sky with concealing more than $3 million in payroll between April 2014 and April 2015,  resulting in a workers compensation premium reduction of over $1 million. Cholowsky submitted false documents regarding the company’s registration and employees to the NYC Business Integrity Commission, according to the indictment. 

Cholowsky is due back in court in September. The case has been adjourned numerous times. 

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.