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Removal Of Trees For Costco Project Roils Riverhead Residents

Nearby Retirement Community Says It's Planning Legal Action

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RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some Riverhead residents are saying their retirement dreams are ruined now that a neighboring developer cleared out acres of trees.

In a little more than a day, hundreds of trees were torn down to clear more than 40 acres of land so a new Costco store could be built near the quiet retirement community of Foxwood Village, CBS 2′s Alice Gainer reported Tuesday.

“It’s awful,” said homeowner George Briceno. “These were like 30- to 40-foot trees. Even a buffer zone is not going to replace that.”

Peter Mastropoalo,¬†president of Foxwood Village, said he’ll pursue legal action, claiming the developers of the Costco property broke several promises.

“There was to be a tree line left temporarily, a fence to be put in, and a berm to be built before all this was completed,”¬†Mastropoalo said.

Mastropoalo said he now wants the developers to build a solid wall tall enough to block out not just the construction, but the planned mini-mall itself.

Longtime homeowner Sarah Derabertis said the last thing she expected to see from her porch is a massive wall.

“We don’t like it all, the devastation,” she said. “We moved here, and we loved this because we had all of the woods behind us, and it was wonderful. And Costco came along and ripped it all out.

Repeated calls seeking comment from the attorney representing the Costco development were not returned, nor were calls to the Riverhead town supervisor’s office.

The project, which is expected to bring jobs and tax revenue to the area, is on track to be completed by next spring.

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