Major industrial development in Calverton clears final hurdle in review process
A proposed 412,000 square foot industrial building on a 30 acre site on Middle Country Road in Calverton passed a key milestone in the review process yesterday, with the Riverhead Planning Board’s acceptance of the Environmental Impact Statement developer final.
The Planning Council at its last meeting on August 2 tabled a resolution accepting the document after Barbara Blass of Jamesport implored the council to consider the HK Ventures proposal along with two other major industrial developments in the same area of the city : Ostad, a 131- acre industrial subdivision on Middle Country Road in Calverton, and NorthPoint’s Riverhead Logistics Center, a 641,000 square foot warehouse on Middle Road in Calverton.
Blass at the last meeting argued that the board has a legal obligation to review the cumulative impacts of the three pending proposals and that reviewing them separately constitutes a “segmented” review prohibited by the Quality Review Act. of the state environment.
The Planning Board apparently didn’t believe him. Although the Board of Directors voted on August 2 to table the resolution, yesterday the Board of Directors in a unanimous vote, in the absence of member Richard O’Dea, approved the measure of acceptance of the SIEF document. The vote took place without any public discussion of the issues raised by Blass at the last meeting or any public response to his comments.
During the opportunity to comment publicly on the resolutions yesterday, Blass, noting that the resolution was on the agenda for a vote, asked if the board had any answers to any of the questions or answers to any concerns she raised at the August 2 meeting. meeting or in a follow-up letter of August 8, she said she sent the board.
“No, I don’t,” replied Planning Council Chair Joann Waski.
“Do you have a written rationale for any of the independent reviews from HK Ventures, Ostad or North Point? Have you received or provided information explaining why and how you are handling this independently? »
“No,” Waski replied.
“Nothing from the lawyer?” Alright,” Blass continues. “So I’m just going to say, if you take this step, I would like to remind you that as a lead agency, your review of HK Ventures, Ostad, and NorthPoint [Riverhead Logistics Center] have reached the segmentation threshold, which is a single affirmative response to one of the following questions: Is there a common goal or objective? Can these actions occur at the same time or around the same time? Are the projects in a common geographical area? Are there expected common impacts? Blass said. “You would score 100%, which in this case is not a good thing.”
Planning Council vice-chairman Edward Densieski then asked planner Greg Bergman a series of questions, to which Bergman answered in the affirmative. “In your opinion, was everything done correctly on this application? Has this been thoroughly and comprehensively reviewed? Is the application complete? All is done ? been done correctly? Or broken laws? Has the Law Department considered this request? Densieski asked.
Bergman said planning staff met last Friday with the Planning Board’s attorney, who again was absent from the board meeting yesterday.
Board member Joseph Baier said he spent “time on the phone” talking with Bergman about Blass’ comments “and everything was fine and I’m satisfied.”
Bergman told the board that the HK Ventures site was in the Industrial C zoning district. He said the city drafted a generic environmental impact statement for the comprehensive plan before it was adopted in 2003 and the city council had retained industrial zoning in Calverton.
“We hear it constantly, you know, ‘Calverton Industrial Estates, Calverton Industrial Estates.’ When the city council zoned the town and established zoning, Calverton centered Industry A and Industry C. The 2003 Comprehensive Plan vision envisioned Calverton as a thriving business district, with various warehousing uses industrial,” Bergman said.
The applications the city sees are consistent with established zoning, which was well thought out by the city council before the adoption of the 2003 comprehensive plan, Bergman said.
He called the 2003 comprehensive plan an “incredible document”, which had “a lot of input from public bodies, many different people, interested parties from across the city”.
Bergman said it was not “fair to the 2003 overall plan” to
“Let’s say now that we’re starting to see the development come to fruition 20 years later…now we have to re-examine it.”
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