Riverhead Town will collect $1.05 million from a solar power company developing a solar farm in Calverton under a community benefit agreement approved by the town board Wednesday night.

sPower, developers of the “Riverhead Solar 1” solar photovoltaic electric generating facility, will pay the town community benefit funding earmarked for: the protection of agriculture and open space ($300,000); environmental protection ($300,000); community health and welfare ($300,000); and education and employment ($150,000).

The “Riverhead Solar 1” facility, located at 4153 Middle Country Road, Calverton will generate 20 MW of electricity. It will tie into the LIPA substation on Edward Avenue via an easement from the town to place a generation tie-in line under the public roadway.

The board voted 4-0 (with Councilwoman Jodi Giglio absent) to authorize the supervisor to sign the agreement.

Board still can’t decide on law firm to advise it on status of EPCAL contract

Board members were split 2-2 on two different resolutions to appoint special counsel to advise the town on the status of its contract with Calverton Aviation and Technology in light of Luminati Aerospace’s decision to relocate its operations upstate.

Councilman Tim Hubbard, who on Friday said he supported the appointment of the the Melville firm of Lazer, Aptheker, Rosella & Yedid, said today he is not ready to move forward with hiring another outside counsel yet.

Hubbard said he thinks the board should first ask the opinion of the town’s current outside counsel, Frank Isler of Smith, Finkelstein, Lundberg, Isler and Yakaboski, supporting what Councilman James Wooten first said two weeks ago. Wooten repeated that request during the board meeting Wednesday, saying failing to do so was “disrespectful” and “insulting.”

Hubbard then said he had second thoughts about appointing a new law firm because of concerns raised by community development director Dawn Thomas about the impact that might have on the chances of the town winning a $10 million downtown revitalization initiative grant from the state.

Thomas said the grant application’s success could depend on the town’s prospects for job growth, which is in some significant part tied to the contract with Calverton Aviation and Technology.

Christopher Kent, attorney for Calverton Aviation and Technology warned the board before it took up the resolutions, that a vote to hire outside counsel for the possible purpose of trying to rescind the contract, would have negative impacts on the ability of his client to negotiate with prospective tenants and lenders.

Board members agreed to discuss the matter with Isler as a board before considering hiring new outside counsel for advice.

In other action, Wednesday night, the board:

  • appointed the law firm of Smith, Finkelstein, Lundberg, Isler and Yakaboski to bring an action to recover sewer rents for sewer service to the county center facilities in Riverside for the years 2018 and 2019.
  • commenced review under the Sate Environmental Quality Review Act of the application of Nextera Energy Resources for a permit to develop of a 22.9 MW commercial solar energy facility at 149 Edwards Avenue in Calverton; the board classified the project as a Type I action and is requesting lead agency status.

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Denise Civiletti
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.