Councilwoman Kepert Announces the Installation of Bicycle Lockers at Brookhaven Town Hall

July 23, 2013

Farmingville, NY – On Monday, July 22, Councilwoman Connie Kepert was proud to attend the installation of six bicycle lockers in their new location at Brookhaven Town Hall. The Councilwoman had been working with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and moved forward a resolution authorizing an agreement to accept the lockers at Town Hall.

“These bicycle lockers offer a wonderful opportunity to Town employees to ride their bicycles to work and keep them in a safe, dry location during the day. Biking to work helps reduce carbon emissions, improve the environment and your health”.

Carmans plan hearing set for July 25

Story By: PEGGY SPELLMAN HOEY, Staff Writer


The Brookhaven Town Board will hold a public hearing to take testimony on the proposed Carmans River Conservation and Management Plan at the end of the month.

A draft of the plan, which was approved along with a draft environmental review required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, includes suggestions to expand the core of the Pine Barrens as well as the rezoning and preservation of land in and around the Carmans River Watershed area. The hearing will be held on July 25 at 6 p.m. inside the auditorium at Town Hall.

Bill Faulk, executive assistant to the Town Planning Department, said it is likely that the plan will not be adopted until sometime in October. After the public hearing, the board members can choose between keeping it open or closing it for written comment for 10 days, he said.

“There is no way in the world of SEQRA that we can adopt this before October,” he said.“We have many months to hear comments and get feedback.”

Faulk went on to say that, so far, the only “real comments” the board has heard in regard to the plan is the expansion of the Pine Barrens core and water quality.

Critics have questioned whether the plan is achieving its original purpose and also how the process has been handled.

Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister, a scientist who has been studying the South Shore’s water bodies for the past nine years, said the plan does not do enough to protect water quality. He called the allowable standard for nitrogen in ground water — 2.5 milligrams per liter at the property line — as indefensible, referring to it as a made-up number. The standard, which is the same as Suffolk County’s, should be lowered to that of the state’s .07 milligrams per liter and monitored at the point of discharge, not the property line, according to McAllister.

MaryAnn Johnston, a member of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization’s land use committee, said the draft environmental impact statement was not placed on the Internet in time for residents to view it before it was voted on, as required under the Sunshine Law. Though she has her concerns about the plan’s handling of water quality in the Carmans plan, Johnston said the civic would continue to review it as the process goes along.

“We are looking at it,” said Johnston, who lives in Manor Park. “We hope it will be a better plan. In some instances, it is better than the other [plan]; in others it’s too vague.”

Board members shot down former Supervisor Mark Lesko’s plan to preserve the Carmans River Watershed last summer over concerns about the inclusion of receiving sites, or areas with parcels designated for higher density development, referring development away from the watershed. The latest plan is the result of a series of public meetings detailing residents’ concerns versus those of other stakeholders such as environmental groups, builders and government officials. The push to save the Carmans River started back in 2008 with a public outcry about increased development in the hamlets of Yaphank and further north in Middle Island, where, some environmentalists say, the headwaters of the river are located.

Faulk said officials cannot change the nitrogen standard at the town level, but that the supervisor would agree the county should lower its standards for groundwater and that surface water should be addressed as well.

Noting the plan is still not finalized and can still be amended, he said “the supervisor wants to see a beefed-up water quality standard.”

Councilwoman Connie Kepert, an outspoken opponent of the last plan, said the plan does seek to protect water quality in the area of the Carmans River Watershed.

“Its more appealing than the other plan,” she said. The big difference is that it does not mix development with preservation, so we are not setting receiving areas and it is not an automatic downzone where the plan accepts [pine barrens credits]. That was the major stumbling block of the previous plan.”

Faulk noted that over the past several weeks, the town and ABCO have co-hosted a series of informational meetings to discuss the plan. He said a copy of the draft plan was available at the town clerk’s office and that members of the civics were also given electronic copies of the plan.

The final public information meeting before the public hearing on the acceptance of the Carmans River Watershed plan will be held at Town Hall on July 25. The draft Environmental Impact Statement is available from the town clerk’s office or can be viewed online at n


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Kepert Praises Agreement between Long Island Compost and Brookhaven Community Coalition

Game changing outcome of negotiations between community and Long Island Compost is announced

June 25, 2013Farmingville:At a press conference yesterday at Town Hall, Councilwoman Kepert applauded the executive board of the Brookhaven Community Coalition (BCC), New York State Department of Conservation and Long Island Compost for the announcement of the finalized agreement between the parties that include a solution to the odors, dust and noise emanating from Long Island Compost’s operations.

“For too many years the surrounding community has suffered due to the odors, noise and dust from this compost facility. The announcement today of this state of the art anaerobic digester will revolutionize the operation of the facility and reduce the amount of mulch on the site by 80% which is the source of the odor and dust. This is a game changer and, once built, the surrounding community will finally have relief,” stated Councilwoman Kepert.

    The decision to remove the majority of the odor and dust causing mulch from the facility was based on the BCC’s agreement with Long island Compost to move forward with an anaerobic digester which will be the first of its kind in the region to compost food waste. According to the company’s principal, Charles Vigliotti, “This technology will expand the world of organic composting. Requests have come in from schools, hospitals and restaurants for better ways to handle their food waste. Besides making compost, this technology will enable us to create renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint. It will be good for the community, the environment and for the economy.”

Michael Verni, member of the Brookhaven Community Coalition’s Executive Board and a Brookhaven resident who has been impacted by the dust and odor from the facility stated, “I look forward to our town being odor free like other Long Island towns.”

Adrienne Esposito, the Chair of BCC, who praised the community for their dedication and input into the process and expressed confidence that the solution will be successful since the voices of the community played a major role in the negotiations, stated,  “We are faced with a solid waste crisis. The landfill has a limited lifetime of 15 more years. Considering 18% of our garbage comes from food waste, this technology is a solution for that portion of our waste stream. This is not experimental technology; anaerobic digesters have been operating for decades in Europe. The construction of this facility will advance waste management on Long Island.”

The next steps are for the Town of Brookhaven to issue a special permit to Long island Compost which will require a public hearing before the Town Board. Once the special permit is granted Long Island Compost will be enabled to move through the planning process and eventually obtain building permits.

Another bend in the Carmans River watershed protection plan – Long Island Advance  6/13/13 By Linda Leuzzi

Like the meandering Carmans River, Brookhaven Town’s Watershed Protection Plan took a turn last week.  The announcement of a new plan, focusing on three initiatives, was made by Supervisor Ed Romaine.  “It was a home rule message the town board voted on last week to support the New York State legislation which will amend the boundaries of the Pine Barrens core and compatible growth area,” said Councilwoman Connie Kepert, whose district the plan most affects.

The Pine Barrens core expansion would focus on 0-to-2-year and 2-to-5-year ground- water contributing areas; the compatible growth area would now extend below the Long Island Expressway, she said. “This gives a bit more increased protection as far as nitrogen loading,” she explained. The town is also recommending nitrate standards of 2.5 mg/l to the county. As for rezoning, “all publicly owned lands in and around the Carmans River will be zoned at A5 [5 acres] or A10 [10 acres],” she said.  “Privately owned property in the 0-to- 2-year and 2-to-5-year contributing areas would be zoned A2 [2 acres]. On previously developed sites, it has no effect,” Kepert added. Those properties would be along the river’s boundaries in Middle Island, Yaphank, Shirley and Brookhaven.

Bill Falk, executive assistant in Brookhaven’s planning, environment and land management department, explained the third prong of the new plan, the land intensification code adopted by the town board. “Any increase you would have in intensity use, you would have to pay a percentage of the increase times $750 the acreage,” he said. “For example, if you went from A1 to J2 with a three-acre residential parcel, that would represent a 70 percent increase times $750.”

The equation would tally to $157,500. “That would be the fee and that money goes into the Joseph Macchia Environmental Preservation Capital Reserve Fund,” Falk said. “From that, we expect to generate $3 million to $5 million a year for open space acquisition. That’s the primary funding source.” Parcels targeted would be up and down the watershed, he said.

“Our primary acquisitions would include property like the Avalon Bay property in Yaphank. It’s any parcel that’s undeveloped and undisturbed outside the 0-to-5- year watershed; those would be our pri- mary acquisitions. We’re working on the core expansion ― it’s the same types of property right on the river. That’s roughly 483 acres; our goal is to acquire those par- cels and extinguish the Pine Barrens cred- its. If we didn’t add them we could say we would buy them, but then someone could come over and develop them and our goal is to minimize the core expansion.”

Marty Van Lith, a Brookhaven hamlet resident who worked on the Carmans River’s history with Tom Williams and was involved in the original meetings under former supervisor Mark Lesko for three years, was wary of the upzoning. “In the past, some of the upzonings made for stream corridor protection were down- zoned again into subdivisions,” he said. “One of my concerns is: is this really permanent protection?”

Williams, a member of the Carmans River Study Group, also expressed con- cerns about the upzoning initiative. “We’ve found a lot of times, the Zoning Board of Appeals has overridden it and we don’t feel it’s a permanent protection.” Williams commented the intensification fund was a positive. “We recommended a better nitrogen standard than the original group so we think that’s very important regarding the nitrogen level,” he said of the 2.5 mg/l. “One could also argue it should be more stringent, but we’re fearful if we do that, we may never get an agreement.”

Williams is also on the town’s open space committee and was privy to the presentation made.

“There were a couple of questions regarding the acreage,” he said. “It will be an ongoing process, but I think it’s a good fit.”

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