Image: Owl Eye Events/Instagram

A laser light show planned for the Calverton Enterprise Park being advertised by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce does not yet have a permit or any agreement in place with the Town of Riverhead to use the site for the show.

The three-night “Lite Up the Nite” event on Sept, 24, 25 and 26 is being promoted and tickets are being offered for sale for two shows each night, one at 7:30 and one at 9:30. The show is planned to take place on the inactive runway at the EPCAL site.

The event is being produced by Owl Eye Events, a company run by Dean Del Prete, owner of L.I. Sports Park and a member of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

The laser beams are directed at a 40-foot screen, which is where the images are displayed, Del Prete said in an interview this morning. The beams are not shot up into the sky, he said.

The laser light show is set to music, which is broadcast via an FM antenna and can be heard by audience members in their vehicles, which will be parked on the runway, Del Prete said. There will be a maximum of 275 vehicles per show, he said.

Del Prete said this morning he believed the Chamber of Commerce obtained a general assembly permit from the town for the event.

But Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said this morning he has not signed off on an assembly permit for this event.

Assembly permits are issued by the chief of police and are required for parades and public assemblies.

An event like this would normally require a special event permit, Hegermiller said. A special event permit entails a more involved application process, with the application reviewed by various town officials, including the town attorney and the town fire marshal, and requires approval by the town board.

The chief said he wasn’t sure if the proposed event requires a special event permit instead of an assembly permit. The town board agreed a few months ago to make it easier for people to hold events during the pandemic by requiring assembly permits instead of special event permits, but Hegermiller said he wasn’t sure about a laser light show, which potentially involves state and federal approvals. He also said he wasn’t sure whether the event venue being town-owned land would mean additional approvals are required.

“I’m not signing off on it without town board approval,” Hegermiller said.

Hegermiller said the state has approved the event from the standpoint of COVID-19 restrictions. That green light only came on Friday, the chief said and he was waiting to see what the state said before circulating the proposal for review by other town departments and the town board.

Riverhead Chamber of Commerce president Bob Kern said this afternoon that “nothing is happening yet” for the three-night event.

“There was some confusion,” Kern said.

Councilman Tim Hubbard said the town board was not notified of the plan, though it is already being promoted on Facebook and tickets — at $30 per car for general admission and $50 per car for the VIP section — are already being offered for sale.

“This is not his first rodeo,” Hubbard said, referring to Del Prete. “He’s put stuff together before without permits,” Hubbard said.

“There are rules for a reason,” Hubbard said. “I’d like to see everything that’s been presented. How many people are they expecting? What will traffic flow be like? Are police needed to direct traffic when the shows get out? There’s usually a fee required to cover that,” Hubbard said.

“Also, when the town allows use of the runway, there’s usually a runway use fee and a license agreement,” the councilman said. “And an insurance policy to protect the town.” Those things are not required for an assembly permit, he noted.

“This should definitely come before the town board,” Hubbard said.

Council members Jodi Giglio and Catherine Kent said today they didn’t know anything about the event.

Support local journalism.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.

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.