Carmans River protection plan
A revised plan to protect the
Carmans River will appease environmentalists and
developers by expanding protections for the river and
offering developers sites to build on outside the
protected area, backers say.
The proposal, the Carmans River
Watershed Protection and Management Plan, has been a
subject of intense debate in
Suffolk's largest town
for more than a year. It is designed to steer
development away from the river's sensitive watershed.
A previous proposal promised to
let property owners sell "development credits" to
developers, who could use the credits to build
multifamily housing away from the river, with greater
density than zoning allows. But developers and some town
officials said the proposal did not identify enough
areas for such multifamily projects to be built, and the
The new proposal, to be unveiled
at a work session Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Town Hall,
identifies 35 areas that can receive credits, said
commissioner and one of the plan's architects. The areas
are spread throughout Brookhaven and are mostly failed
-- or failing -- commercial developments, totaling 540
acres, officials said.
The new proposal also expands the
protected area around the river -- it had been about
9,000 acres -- to about 12,500 acres, Bertoli said.
Environmentalists and developers who worked with town
officials to craft the plan trumpeted the new draft as a
Long Island Builders
Institute chief executive Mitchell Pally said the
proposal "provides the ability to do the kind of
building the community says it wants, in areas the
community says it wants it to go."
Richard Amper, executive director
of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, said the
proposal is "a marriage of preservation and
development." But the proposal has several hurdles
to clear and will likely face much scrutiny from the
town board and the public.
Supervisor Mark Lesko said he will
ask the town board to set a March 29 public hearing on
the proposal. To give it enough time to be advertised,
the public hearing would have to be set at Tuesday's
town board meeting, he said. The proposal must be
adopted as law by the end of June per state law, Lesko
Councilman Daniel Panico said he
and the other five town board members will review the
proposal at today's work session. He said he is
concerned the plan will create residences without
fostering job growth. "We need tax base, we need
jobs. Many of these properties are prime commercial real
estate," Panico said.