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Brookhaven Notebook: Town Closes Deal for Carmans River Protection Plan

Agreement will preserve a key region of Brookhaven's natural landscape.

The Town of Brookhaven on Friday announced it has closed on the acquisition of 30 acres of land in what the Carmans River Study Group has identified is in the the zero-to-two year groundwater contributing area of the river region.

Supervisor Mark Lesko called the acquisition "a major victory for land preservation."

"This sensitive piece of land will now be forever protected from development," he said.

The deal is expected to prevent pollutants from discharging into the river. The property, known as the Lake Grove school property, was acquired for $4,150,000 and on a daily basis recharges 50,000 gallons of clean water. It is located between Southaven County Park and a 23-acre open space parcel owned by the Town of Brookhaven.

Local elected officials and environmental groups lauded the move.

"The town is to be congratulated for its vision, foresight and follow through on protecting the water chemistry and beauty of the Carmans River," New York State Assemb. Steve Englebright said.

Dick Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, supported the move.

"The Lake Grove School parcel is a key picture puzzle part that has now been put in place, aimed at completing an assemblage of properties that will permanently protect this river," Amper said.

Not-for-profit Corporation Formed to Protect Mt. Sinai Harbor

In another move that is aimed at protecting the natural environment in the Town of Brookhaven, councilwoman Jane Bonner on Monday announced the formation of the Friends of Mt. Sinai Harbor.

The not-for-profit corporation will "generate public awareness, promote, preserve and beautify the Mt. Sinai coastal environment and heritage for future generations," the town said in a statement.

Mt. Sinai Harbor is one of the bodies of water surrounding the town's Cedar Beach. Friends of Mt. Sinai Harbor will focus its attention on the Mt. Sinai Harbor Marine Stewardship Center at Cedar Beach, which is set to open in the fall at the site of the former Mt. Sinai Nature Center. That facility has been closed for two years due to renovations.

Civic Group Seeks Closure of Town Landfill

More than 25 community organizations have banded together to form the Brookhaven Community Coalition, which is seeking to speed up the closure of the town landfill in Yaphank.

"Specifically the BCC is deeply upset and disturbed that the landfill and LI Compost in Yaphank are causing a nightmare for residents. Frequent intolerable odors, dust blowing across homes and in windows, constant truck traffic and poor air quality are some to the main issues," said Adrienne Esposite, a member of the coalition who is also the executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

However, the group has been told that the town is too financially dependent on the landfill to close it prior to the 17 years of usage it has left.

A town spokesman said the landfill generates between $40 million and $45 million each year in net revenue for the town, which has a contract with Covanta Energy to supply municipal waste for its Resource Recovery Facility in Hempstead. Eliminating that source of revenue for the town would result in the loss of 44 percent of support for its general fund, and could result in a tax increase of more than 200 percent.

"The BCC is discussing alternative revenue producers to make up those funds," Esposito said. "We are not asking for the impossible and we are not asking for it to close tomorrow. We are simply asking for the town to begin the process of preparing to stop using Yaphank as a dumpsite and move towards a transition which allows homeowners to once again enjoy their backyards, open their windows and restore property values.

The landfill is a 535-acre facility which includes a municipal solid waste transfer station, storage tanks, material recycling facility, and other components.

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