Jul 30, 2014
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Even More Sandy-Damaged Cars Headed to EPCAL

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio concerned about speeding tow truck drivers at EPCAL.

Even More Sandy-Damaged Cars Headed to EPCAL

For the third time in recent weeks, the Riverhead Town board has authorized a company to store Sandy-damaged cars at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Once again, representatives of Insurance Auto Auction Corp. attended a town board work session on Thursday to request additional space to store the damaged vehicles.

Representatives of the business have already been before the board twice before to request space for damaged car storage; the board amended the additional lease agreement. Thursday's request would mark a new amendment.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said his goal is to "avoid car lots popping up everywhere," in areas such as sand mines.

"They need a little more property," Walter told the board.

The only EPCAL land left to lease that's paved and safe for the damaged vehicles, Walter said, is a taxiway on an open runway.

Part of that taxiway is owned by the town; the other half is owned by private individuals.

Walter told the IAA representatives that they would have to be in touch with Ray Maynard of Skydive Long Island, who owns the other half of the taxiway.

The lease would be for only four months, Walter said.

Agreeing to the request would mean that the cars would be sited together, in a fenced area, that the supervisor said is not visible to the public and not in sand mines or parking lots.

Walter added that currently, the car storage facility is in operation 24/7, with lights for security and tow trucks coming and going round the clock.

Councilman John Dunleavy said the location is desirable because the cars are, for the most part, not visible from Route 25.

"This is doing two things -- helping businesses and the Town of Riverhead," Dunleavy said.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who has an office at EPCAL, said she had serious concerns about tow truck drivers exceeding speed limits.

"You said there would be traffic control and I haven't seen it," she said. "It's becoming a really dangerous situation."

IAA representatives said there are also tow trucks from another company, Copart, on EPCAL property.

Dunleavy said IAA's drivers only have to go a short distance from Route 25 to the head of the runway.

"They overshoot the runway and have to turn around," Giglio said.

Giglio asked why the cars on the Burman parcel have not yet been removed; they were ordered to be removed by the Department of Environmental Conservation two weeks ago. As of last week, the cars were still present.

Councilman Jim Wooten asked the men when they expected the influx of cars to end.

The cars, IAA reps said, should stop coming soon; 2000 are slated to be up for sale this week. Cars are no longer coming in from New Jersey, they said.

Dunleavy said when he visited the site Wednesday he saw two car carriers leaving with vehicles headed to auction.

According to IAA, approximately 7500 damaged cars are still left on Long Island, but not all will be brought to EPCAL. Other facilities are located at leased locations such as Belmont, Bethpage and Brookhaven Town, as well as the company's permanent facility in Medford.

The same rate, $3200 an acre, would be applicable; the town will proceed to determiine the acreage involved.

The board agreed to ratify the agreement.

"It's a win-win," Walter said.

Dunleavy added that IAA stopped power washing the cars because the DEC asked. IAA reps said as long as the undercarriage is not washed, the practice was allowed.

Approximately 30-40 employees are working at the EPCAL site. Town fire inspectors are there on a daily basis to oversee operations.

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