Legislation

Councilwoman Kepert Implements Middle Country Road Land-Use Plan

March 1, 2013

Through a Series of Re-zonings, Councilwoman Kepert Advances Middle Country Road Land Use Plan


Farmingville, NY – At last night’s Town Board meeting Councilwoman Connie Kepert sponsored a series of rezonings in an effort to implement the Middle Country Road Land Use Plan. The goal of the rezonings is to funnel development to the hamlet centers and reduce development between them.

"These zone changes are the culmination of a visioning that began in 2001 and the implementation of the Middle Country Road Land Use Plan that was adopted in 2006. These zone changes represent an effort to transform communities characterized by strip commercial areas and a dangerous arterial, to compact, pedestrian friendly communities," stated Councilwoman Kepert.

Gail Lynch-Baily, President of the Middle Island Civic Association, spoke in support of the zone changes, “The rezonings called for under the Middle Country Road Land Use Plan help create distinct hamlet centers and transitional zones along the essential corridor of Route 25. Unfortunately, this roadway has once again earned the dubious distinction as being Suffolk County’s deadliest. Indeed, safety is a key aspect of the Middle Country Road Land use Plan; it seeks to lower the number of curb cuts and calm traffic along the corridor, especially where use is most intense.”
Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island, the planning organization that conducted the visioning sessions with the community, stated, “The Middle Country Road Land Use Plan provides guidance on strategies to balance growth and preservation through Coram and Middle Island. The proposed actions of the Town Board are in accordance with the plan which was based on robust public engagement and best planning practices.”

Ryan Lynch from Tri-State Transportation said, “Effectively tying land–use decisions to smart transportation investment will go a long way towards reducing congestion, protecting open space, promoting economic development and enhancing safety for all users of our roadways,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “A Tri-State Transportation analysis released earlier this week found that Middle Country Road was the third most dangerous road in the region for pedestrians. Creating a more walkable and bikeable corridor that supports smart land uses will help mitigate these unnecessary pedestrian fatalities.



       One Small Step for Sustainable Development, One Giant Leap for the Town of Brookhaven

Farmingville, NY – 7/18/2011  Despite the ongoing time consuming legal challenges the Sandy Hills application has faced, the community and Councilwoman Kepert remained steadfast in the community’s vision to ensure that Sandy Hills received the change of zone needed to create a pedestrian oriented center. “This is a great application for the community and for the Town of Brookhaven. It represents community based planning that moves away from haphazard land-use that has unfortunately characterized the Middle Country Road corridor,” stated Kepert. “I ran for office with the mission to shape land use decisions so that projects create a sense of place, do not depend on the automobile and get folks excited about where they live; this project achieves that goal,” stated Kepert.

The Sandy Hills application includes 134 units of mixed residential units and a small business component with live work units. “The business component will be constructed similarly to traditional downtowns on Long Island such as Patchogue, Port Jefferson and Sayville, where our young people can live in affordable vibrant places,” said Kepert.

Several community members voiced their support for the project before the Town Board. Gail Lynch-Bailey, President of the Longwood Alliance stated, “The top two chambers of Middle Island's heart have been dying for more than a decade. Sandy Hills will pump new life and energy into these chambers, bringing jobs, homes and recreation to the center of Middle Island. This project is a victory for community based planning and a rejection of the Enviro-frightalism that outside groups have been using to promote their own livelihoods. I commend the Town Board members who voted to breathe new life into our community!”

Roz Muraskin, the president of Middle Island’s Birchwood at Spring Lake’s civic stated, “We are extremely happy and looking forward to seeing project progress. This will be a positive development for Middle Island. I’m looking forward to the shovel breaking ground.”

Eric Alexander, Executive Director of Vision Long Island stated, “This important mixed use project has finally received the well deserved support it needs. This tax positive plan provides housing options, commercial space and a sewer plant that will assist surrounding development. Sandy Hills will provide the impetus for needed redevelopment along the corridor.”

The property consists of 39 acres and as of right 37 single family homes with 37 environmentally harmful cesspools could be built on the property. Cesspools have been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the major cause of groundwater degradation. Instead the Sandy Hills application provides a sewage treatment plant, which will reduce nitrogen loading to the site. The STP complies with Article 6 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code. Sandy Hills will protect the environment not only by reducing our carbon footprint, it will protect our water quality, by reducing nitrogen loading.

The Sandy Hills proposal preserves nearly half of the site as natural open space, a full 18 acres of open space, which complies with the Central Pine Barrens Plan, and includes the purchase of Pine Barrens credits, when none are required. All runoff will be contained and treated on site. Additionally, the direction of groundwater flow at the site is to the east and does not flow towards the Carmans. Sandy Hills is outside of the 100 year contributing area for the Carmans River, which means that if a drop of water falls on the ground on the Sandy Hills site it would take more than 100 years to get to the river.

                      Reducing Sprawl along Middle Country Road Corridor Kepert Sponsors Series of Upzonings


In order to accomplish our goals of decreasing congestion, while enhancing safety and preserving important parcels of open space, the

Middle Country Road Plan balanced the creation of two pedestrian oriented village centers through a series of upzonings.  Preliminary

calculations demonstrate that these upzonings will result in an impressive reduction in sprawl and strip commercial development, while creating vibrant, pedestrian friendly mixed use centers.  These changes of zone will result in over 1,200 less housing units being built along  he corridor, and over one million square feet less commercial space.

“These important changes will result in a safer, less congested Middle Country Road, and the end of the proliferation of seemingly

endless strip stores lining our main streets,” stated Councilwoman Kepert.  


Reducing Sprawl along Middle Country Road Corridor


 The Middle Country Road rezonings took that one step further by moving forward a major effort to transform

communities characterized by strip commercial development, and big box stores separated by the street by seas of asphalt.   


During the last fifty years our zoning codes have encouraged sprawl.  Suburban Sprawl is by definition the spreading out of development.  “Due to these development patterns we are choking on traffic, have no identifiable community centers, and we need to get in our cars to fulfill even the simplest need such as getting a loaf of bread,” stated Councilwoman Kepert.


In 2002 the Middle Island Civic and the Longwood Alliance along with the Town of Brookhaven sponsored a visioning or inclusive planning process.  At a series of community meetings the community outlined their goals for the future of their community.  


“The people of Middle Island and Coram stated that they wanted to stop the destruction of our sensitive lands, replace NYS most deadly

roadway with a safe, effective streetscape, which decreases curb cuts, conflict points, and congestion, create a downtown with public spaces, shops, and houses, a town similar to the traditional towns on L.I. Port Jeff, Northport, Bellport etc.  A town with some sort of sense of identity. These rezonings will enable us to transform the community’s vision into a reality,” stated Kepert.  


Upzoings:

Coram -

253.61 acres rezoned

42.48 acres in private ownership

22.84 acres to residential                            Upzonings Privately held = 65.32


Middle Island -

379.53 acres rezoned

187.48 acres in private ownership

61.78 acres to residential                         Upzonings Privately held = 249.26


Ridge -

1274.42 acres rezoned

589.33 acres in private ownership (includes AVR)

149.42 acres to residential                        Upzonings Privately held = 738.75


Total privately held upzonings = 1053.33

total rezoned= 1907.56


Acquired Parcels:

So far there have been approximately 190 acres preserved.  Approximately 284 more acres are in the process of being acquired.


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