INTERESTING...NOW THE SUPERVISOR AND MEMBERS OF THE FORMER CARMANS RIVER STUDY GROUP WANT 'SCIENCE'???...WELL...THAT'S GOOD, ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING THEY HAD NO INTEREST AT ALL IN 'REAL SCIENCE' FOR MOST OF THE LAST 22 MONTHS....WELL WE HAVE SOME GOOD 'SCIENCE' AND HOPE AT LONG LAST WITHOUT THE INTERFERENCE OF THE FAILED 'STUDY GROUP'...COMMUNITIES TOGETHER CAN ADDRESS AND DEVLOP A PLAN THAT IS ACTUALLY ROOTED IN 'REAL SCIENCE'....NOT POLITCAL SCIENCE OR EXPEDIENCY...
Officials draft alternateCarmans plan
Originally published: Newsday April 2, 2012 9:16 PM
Updated: April 2, 2012 9:31 PM
By PATRICK WHITTLE
Photo credit: Newsday/Carl Corry | The Carmans River at Mill Road in Yaphank. (July 12, 2011)
Three members of the Brookhaven Town Board who opposed a historic proposal to preserve the Carmans River have produced a draft of an alternate measure that is radically different from the original plan withdrawn Thursday by town Supervisor Mark Lesko.
Lesko quickly expressed skepticism about the proposal.
Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld, who drew up the alternative plan with fellow board members Connie Kepert and Daniel Panico, said their version will incorporate feedback from the public before it is put up for a vote. He said lack of public input was a fatal flaw in the first proposal.
"Our plan is to overcome the lack of public participation in the first version of this Carmans River protection plan," Fiore-Rosenfeld said.
But Lesko chided the alternative proposal introduced Thursday as hastily prepared and lacking the expert input of the first plan. That plan was written by a study group that included Lekso and other government officials, building industry representatives and environmentalists.
"Any new plan needs to be based on science, not political expediency," Lesko said.
The original Carmans proposal promised to allow developers to build with greater density than current zoning laws allow outside the river's watershed -- prompting jeers from residents who said it would burden school districts with overdevelopment. Some council members represented areas where residents strongly expressed opposition to increased density.
Backers said the measure would preserve the river by steering growth to other parts of town.
Lesko cited a lack of consensus on the seven-member town board when he withdrew the plan at Thursday's town board meeting, provoking applause from residents who opposed the plan.
The alternate proposal suggests that the town acquire sensitive land in the Carmans watershed via an open space bond of between $30 million and $40 million. Land that cannot be acquired could be rezoned for less dense development, the draft states.
The town board is scheduled to vote April 24 on whether to set public meetings about the alternate plan.
The meetings would allow residents to share any ideas they have about preserving the river, and a final plan would be crafted based on that feedback, Fiore-Rosenfeld said.
The meetings would likely be held sometime in May, he said.
"Let's work out the next resolution whereby all seven of our names can go on it," Panico said.
But Kevin McDonald, director of public lands for the Nature Conservancy, said supporters of the new Carmans plan "aren't proposing any specifics."
He added: "I look forward to the plan that the supporters of this vision produce, whatever it is. And I look forward to seeing if it actually protects the river."