Lesko's actions tell residents
the Town Board Majority
Go to hell..I'll do what I want
Without the consent of fellow board members or even any notice to the other members of the Town Board, Supervisor Mark Lesko pushed forward a resolution at the Long Island Central Pine Barrens Commission on Wednesday to advance his clearly rejected Carmans River plan to expand the Core of the LI Pine Barrens. Lesko acted fully apart from and despite the lack of majority or board support for his plan. Additionally, Supervisor Lesko now also appears to have acted contrary to his own vote on April 24th in favor of advancing Resolution 380. Reso 380 provides for a completely new roadmap and process by which the town would act to preserve and protect the Carmans River Watershed without linking those efforts to expansion of the Pine Barrens or TDR's for MF housing. Both residents and Board members also objected strongly to handing over zoning within the Town to Albany.
ABCO has learned that all the members of the Pine Barrens Commission unanimously voted to move forward a 'metes and bounds survey' to detail with specificity which lands would be placed into an expanded Core. The cost of such a survey or the source of funding was not discussed by Lesko or the Commission members. All this despite the fact that the State enabling legislation passed last June required Town Board approval of the plan within six months of its enactment; and signature by the Governor last September 23rd. In fact, the Legislation provided that absent such approval by the Town Board the Legislation would expire or sunset six months later or on March 23rd, 2012.
Furthermore, sources in the State Senate indicate the support necessary to extend or consider a new bill is not present. Lesko's action seeks to 'pre-empts' local zoning control so NYS can intervene and compel passage of his controversial plan. Thus, allowing NYS to interfere with the basic right of Brookhaven's citizens and duly elected officials to reject the plan designed by special interests assembled by Supervisor Lesko in the fall of 2010. ABCO has also learned that yesterday Study Group Chairmam, Dr. Lee Koppelman, (who actually works for the town board), has now scheduled another closed door meeting of the Supervisor's elitist study group for next Thursday.
We respectfully ask that the Town Board act to put an end to the Supervisors shenaigans. We ask that they take affirmative action to restrict the Supervisor from advancing his plan, and regain democractic control over this process. Once again, we ask that the take steps to formally disband the Supervisor's study group and expediously enact ABCO's detailed plan to create a Steering Committee Study Group, staffed by community members, so finally this process can move forward in a democratic, tranparent, above board and legal manner.
Lesko moves to 'protect Carmans watershed'
Leaving the town board out of the process, Brookhaven
Supervisor Mark Lesko has asked the state to extend the Pine Barrens Core to protect the Carmans River watershed. The state Pine Barrens Commission unanimously passed his motion Wednesday, sending the proposal to the State Legislature for consideration.
The proposal would extend the mapped boundaries of the Pine Barrens Core to include 3,500 acres in the watershed. If approved, development would be prohibited on those acres and stricter state water quality standards applied to the river.
"The Carmans River is a precious state and federal resource and the standards that apply to the Pine Barrens should apply to the expanded core around the Carmans River," Lesko said in a statement. He said later that town board politics and the delay in crafting a new plan compelled him to seek state help. "This is a classic case where we need state pre-emption," Lesko said. "A third of the river flows through a federal preserve. I'm asking the state to pre-empt the local level to protect the river."
Plans to protect the ecologically delicate Carmans River, stretching from Middle Island
, have been the subject of contention among Brookhaven
officials. Last month, Lesko withdrew his plan to allow developers to build higher-density housing away from the river in exchange for property in the watershed. Opponents, including board members, feared Lesko's plan would lead to overdevelopment and proposed a new $30 million plan to fund preserving "critical watershed properties" and other waterways in Brookhaven, based on input from town meetings to be held in the next few weeks.
Pine Barrens Society executive director Richard Amper, who supported Lesko's plan for the Carmans River, said this move may influence town board members to act faster. "The town board majority has made no showing in the past 18 months that they are moving ahead with a mechanism to protect the Carmans River," Amper said. Councilwoman Connie Kepert blasted Lesko's move, which she said was not communicated to the board and negates the point of the upcoming community meetings.
"Apparently, the supervisor is going forward without input from the community," she said. "The big problem for the folks I represent is that this plan takes away their property rights" Kepert said, comparing Lesko's move to "using a hammer where a scalpel will be the appropriate tool."