We congratulate the community for its commitment to opposing EPCAL and express our appreciation to the IDA for protecting Riverhead. The IDA are volunteers, and here they voted the facts.
It never should have gone this far but it did. There were many points to the spear that turned this situation around. The Democratic ticket is one of them, and we feel a deep sense of accomplishment in having made the key contribution of elevating EPCAL into an issue in this election – to the point where even the Republicans who created this mess were forced by public outrage to walk away from it.
There is more work to be done.
CAT has threatened to sue and, if they do, it will not be because they believe in the merits of their position – which in our view are nonexistent. Rather, it will be to leverage the costs of litigation as a tactic to get concessions.
In addition, Tim Hubbard left EPCAL naked by creating a special zone that legally permits virtually any use, regardless of how adjoining residential neighborhoods are impacted. That zone and that vulnerability have not been changed. EPCAL needs to be rezoned to permit uses that do not harm those adjoining neighborhoods, and prohibit uses that do. And we need to find the right use for that valuable asset.
One question for voters in this election is whom do they trust to stand up to CAT in a lawsuit, rezone EPCAL, and involve the public in deciding how to develop it? The same crew that created this debacle in the first place — or our ticket, which is committed to cleaning up the EPCAL mess once and for all?
Andrew Leven is a Democratic candidate for Riverhead council member. He lives in Riverhead.
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