EPCAL runway. File photo: Peter Blasl

What started out as a simple CDA meeting on Feb. 19 turned into so much more. This is of great concern due to the current status of the EPCAL contract.

In a letter from the NYS DEC dated Feb. 3, 2017, the agency asked the town to provide information about the type of aviation that would utilize EPCAL. Then on Sept. 17, 2019 the DEC sent the town a Notice of Incomplete Application, which noted that there was still a lack of information of what would be located on the EPCAL property in regards to aviation.

The town’s contract of sale with Calverton Aviation & Technology requires the town to file a final approved subdivision map by the middle of May — less than 90 days away. If the town fails to do that, either party can cancel the contract.

A key component of discussion at last month’s CDA meeting involved contract “Exhibit B,” titled “Intended Development Plan” — CAT’s plans for the EPCAL site.

According to the “Intended Development Plan,” the “primary emphasis shall be on the development of aviation, technology and supportive uses…”

At the CDA meeting, it was indicated that the town still has no clue as to what the intended use is going to be. In addition to that revelation, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar admitted that the town doesn’t know if the use will even involve aviation or technology. What?

When pushed further on the matter, it was explained that CAT has yet to tell the town what any of its specific intentions for development are. So, how is the town going to answer the DEC’s questions, get the DEC permit and file a final map by its deadline?

Wasn’t the town’s “qualified and eligible” determination based on CAT’s ability to perform the “Intended Development Plan?” According to Councilman Tim Hubbard’s statements at the meeting, the answer is yes.

That puts us back at square one. What are the intended uses of the land? Would the town consider using the expiration of the contract as leverage to gain back the extra 1,000 acres that many residents have argued never should have been included in the contract?

The answer at the meeting was a resounding lack of answers. You heard things as, the town would respond to the DEC notice, and the idea of further negotiations would be considered. All this despite the town still lacking any idea of the purpose CAT intends. The only town board member who voiced an answer of some form was Councilwoman Catherine Kent.

How is any of this possible? How did we get so far off track that we have such a short time to come up with answers to legitimate questions by a regulatory agency with authority over the Calverton property?

Ellen Hoil lives in Riverhead.

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