Town of Brookhaven, Farmingville, NY
Tonight, in front of a packed group, the seven town Board members almost came to fist-to-cuffs over how to proceed with the Carman’s River Watershed Protection and Management Plan Resolution, which was scheduled for a vote this evening.
The plan called for Transfer of Development Rights (TDR’s) from the landowners that own property along the Carman’s River.
Builders can then purchase the TDR credit and build Multi-family homes in other areas of the Town of Brookhaven.
The “flaws” in this plan are :
- A TDR = 5 units. Meaning a builder can put up to 10 units on 1 acre of land. The current town law is 1 single-family home on 1 acre of property.
- Landowners whose property fall into the “plan” lose the rights to their property.
- In 1993, the Pine Barren’s Plan went into effect and there are still over 500 property owners waiting to receive payment on their property that was put into the Pine Barren’s Core.
Two hundred-and-fifty families are demanding immediate payment and the town does not have the money to pay them.
The reason the developers don’t want to purchase the Pine Barren’s credits is because 1 TDR = 1 Unit – only one home per one Acre. There is no money in that transaction!
That means those homeowners sitting with the 500 Pine Barren’s Credits will never receive payment!
The Constitution clearly states, if land is taken in the best interest of the people, then those property owners must be fairly compensated.
The homeowners sitting on the 500 Pine Barrens credits have been waiting several years and have not been rightfully compensated!
The Carman’s River Watershed Protection Plan is disingenuous, at best. It seems that the stakeholders were left out of the process and that the plan will do little to preserve the river but will have a massive impact on the communities where these multi-families units will be built.
Before the meeting began, I spoke to several of the Civic leaders who were present.
Chad Trusnovec, President of the Yaphank Civic, supports preservation of the Carman’s River but his opposition to the plan seemed to echo those that I interviewed tonight.
“It is not a preservation plan but a development plan”
The town spent 22 months studying the plan and held 33 meetings, but most of them fell during work hours where few working people could attend and public input was limited.
Supervisor Mark Lesko disagreed and stated that there are 390 written comments included in the final plan.
But after tonight’s comments by over 40 residents, each one basically saying the same thing – that they were left out of the process – I am wondering if those 390 comments were ever taken into consideration.
Sharon Wiesmann, Corresponding Secretary of the Yaphank Civic, stated, “when Civic members and residents raised concerns or questions regarding the plan, they were verbally attacked by one particular member of the Planning Committee.” In fact, that person was present tonight and stormed out of Town Hall when the public speaking portion of the meeting began.
Peter Oleschuk, Vice President of the Rocky Point Civic, brought up the point that if the town votes to give away the property rights to the Pine Barrens Commission, then the town loses the control over the project.
People, who are appointed by the town, will have the final word on what is bought, sold and built in our communities. He adamantly stated, “This plan is driven by a motive to steal the public trust we have given you in the process of electing you. A panel of builders, developers and business interests has no place in this process.”
Erma Gluck, the President of the Coram Civic, “is all in favor of preserving the river but not at the expense of other communities.” In fact, out of the 6 councilmatic districts, 3 of the districts (1, 2 and 6) had been removed from the plan, leaving all the density in Council districts 3, 4 and 5.
Maryanne Johnston, the President of ABCO (Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization), stated, “…the voice of the people have not been heard.” She further added that communities have a right to plan their own communities.
A member of the Tea Party Movement, Heather Martarello, stated, “Everyone is in favor of protecting the Carman’s river but how fair is it to people who purchased a single-family home in a suburban community and suddenly there is a stack-n-pack hi-rise right next door?”
Don Seubert, Vice-President of the Medford Civic, stated “It’s a multi-family development with as much as 7 to 10 units to the area anywhere less than 1/2 mile from a main road. This density adds more garbage, traffic, congestion, noise, pollution, etc. Where does that leave our quality of life?”
Much to the surprise of everyone, Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld (D), Councilmatic District 1, brought forth an amendment to the resolution, which was co-authored by Dan Panico and Connie Kepert. Their plan didn’t include TDR’s and called for more of the publics input.
Supervisor Lesko, initially agreed to accept the amendment and hold two public hearings on both of the plans and any other plan that anyone wanted to submit.
After 2 hours of (negative) public comments to the original plan and everyone expressing an interest in learning more about Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld’s plan, Supervisor Lesko withdrew his resolution, which has killed the entire Carman’s River Preservation Plan!
The plan to save the Carman’s River has been scrapped by Supervisor Lesko, and it left everyone wondering what is the future of the Carmans’ River.