IAA has posted signs at an entrance to the the EPCAL site to be used by transport trucks delivering flood-damaged vehicles to be stored on a runway. Photo: Peter Blasl

Flood-damaged vehicles will again be stored on a runway at the Calverton Enterprise Park.

Insurance Auto Auctions, which stored flood-damaged vehicles on the 7,000-foot runway at EPCAL after Superstorm Sandy, has exercised its option under a 2014 agreement with the town to use the runway for that purpose again, as the region recovers from Tropical Storm Ida. The storm caused massive flooding in New York City and New Jersey Sept. 2.

The 2014 option agreement, approved by the town board in February 2014, gives IAA the right to store vehicles on the EPCAL site’s inactive runway in the event of a “catastrophe.” IAA has paid the Riverhead Community Development Agency $25,000 per year for the option.

The new runway use agreement could be worth more than $600,000 to the CDA, which owns the runways and remaining vacant land at the enterprise park site.

IAA will pay $4,175 per acre per month for 52.5 acres on the inactive runway and taxiway — $219,187.50 per month. IAA will license only 15 acres beginning Sept. 4 and agreed to pay an initial fee of $62,625 and then pay an additional sum at the $4,175 per acre rate for the other 37.5 acres once the property is turned over to IAA.

IAA has the option to renew the license agreement for two additional 90-day periods.

The town has an existing license agreement with drag racing promotor Peter Scalzo on the remaining acreage on the runway which IAA can’t access until after Scalzo’s last race event, which will take place on Sept. 12, Scalzo said in an interview today he will be off the site the following day.

The town also has a temporary runway use agreement for the 7,000-foot runway with Scrambul, which is scheduled to hold a two-day event on both runways on the weekend of Sept. 25-26. Scrambul organizer Andre Baxter said in an interview today he told the town early last month — well before the storm — that he now only wants to use the 10,000-foot runway. Scrambul’s runway use agreement has not yet been revised, Baxter said.

The town board at a special CDA meeting tomorrow will take up a resolution ratifying the runway use agreement that’s been signed by the supervisor as CDA chairperson approving a temporary license agreement with IAA for use of the 7,000-foot runway. The town clerk published the resolution and the agreement this afternoon.

IAA has already placed signage on the site at the southerly end of the runway and plans to begin bringing vehicles there tomorrow, a security officer at the site said today.

Town Attorney Robert Kozakiewicz said Rob Marsh of the State Department of Environmental conservation was contacted and advised that no DEC permit is needed, “provided the cars remain on the runways (hard surfaces) and any spills/leaks are promptly addressed.”

“IAA understands they cannot interfere with Peter Scalzo’s remaining dates,” Kozakiewicz wrote in an email.

Scalzo told RiverheadLOCAL today he had filed an application seeking a special event permit to hold drag-racing events on weekends in October, but decided to withdraw the application in light of the town’s commitment to IAA. Scalzo also said he will not hold a race on the Sept. 18 rain date, to make up for a rainout on one of the four scheduled weekends of “Race Track Not Street” event.

“With the amount of money that they (IAA) are prepared to pay the town, I would rather the town get that income, and I’ll just hold off on doing any events this year,” Scalzo said. He said he hopes to be able to hold drag racing events at EPCAL again next year.

Both Scalzo and Baxter said their events quickly sold out.

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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.