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Nov 11, 2008 9:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Local leaders remain hesitant over ambitious project

Nov 11, 2008 9:14 AM

More than 200 people attended a public forum on Riverhead Resorts, an ambitious $2.1 billion project that proposes to build a 755-acre resort complex on the former Northrop Grumman Corp. property in Calverton, to discuss the plan with a panel comprised of representatives from the developers, Riverhead and Brookhaven Towns and East End environmental organizations.

Although a formal application has not yet been submitted, the developers have indicated that plans will call for eight themed resorts, a 350-foot indoor ski mountain and a 4-acre indoor water park as well as restaurants, shops, and timeshare units.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale, Bob DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End, Kevin McDonald, director of public lands for the Nature Conservancy, Paul Rogalle, director of planning for the Town of Brookhaven and Mitch Pally, an attorney representing the developers of Riverhead Resorts, were all on hand to field questions from the audience and to express their views on the project. The meeting took place at the Southampton Town Senior Center in Hampton Bays on Monday night.

The forum, which was sponsored by the League of Women Voters, began with opening statements by the panel members who outlined their respective positions on the plan. “We believe this is a great opportunity,” Mr. Pally said. He said that the project would adhere to all environmental regulations and would seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. He also maintained that the project would be a large economic benefit to eastern Long Island residents because it would create jobs and generate tax revenue.

Although Riverhead Resorts has not yet filed a formal application, representatives have already paid Riverhead Town a $2 million non-refundable payment. Mr. Cardinale said that officials of Riverhead were not taking the environmental review process lightly, as the year-round resort could have a large impact. Referring to both the economic and environmental impacts, he said, “Both the positives and negatives are regional. It is not limited to Riverhead.”

Mr. DeLuca explained that although a lead agency has not yet been named, he feels that New York State and not Riverhead Town should head the environmental review process to avoid a conflict of interest. “We need the help of the State of New York,” he said.

Mr. McDonald remained skeptical about the feasibility of the project and was concerned over the ramifications of such an ambitious project. “In the end, it does need to be reduced in size,” he said.

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problem is that everytime someone wants to add something in the hamtons, theres always a gripe. The building of a casino would have been great. Jobs , and plenty of revenue. complaints of traffic and visitors were the complaint. Big mistake by not getting on board that cash cow.
Now another good thing riverhead resorts, and its the same issues. People, i spend 7-9 kmonths a year in calverton. I think change is up and coming. Besides the duck and calveton cemetary, nothing else big is ...more
By kevkat248 (1), bayshore on Nov 12, 08 4:54 AM
The 'griping' that the locals do here makes for a much more desirable place to live, than say, uhmm, Bayshore.

The locals here take care of ourselves just fine and that is what makes this area desirable; not casinos or other stupid things for tourists to do.
By RealLocal (76), Bridgehampton on Nov 12, 08 5:04 PM
Great, there will be many more things to do: like sit in traffic longer; watch our clean air and water disappear, and our way or life erode so some idiots can ski in Calverton. Really, does this "resort" really do anything positive. Oh, yes, line the pockets of those involved in giving away public land.....
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Nov 14, 08 12:27 PM