Brookhaven town supervisor Ed Romaine on Monday said the community needs to talk more about the idea that has come to be known as "college town" in Three Village – and said the town would be willing to facilitate further discussion.
The idea, proposed by former supervisor Mark Lesko prior to his has been controversial since it was first publicly introduced to the community in September of 2012. Lesko convened a committee of representatives from various organizations throughout the community to discuss the idea of redeveloping the Route 25A corridor in the vicinity of the Stony Brook LIRR station into an appealing, walkable, safe mixed-use neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and other businesses – a project that would not involve eminent domain, according to the town's planning commissioner, Tullio Bertoli.
Romaine did not describe the idea as altogether dead, but rather, he said more input was needed before any idea could move forward to the planning stages.
"That’s something that I would like to hear a lot about from the community before I judge any of this. ... I would want to have a plan that the community could endorse," Romaine told the crowd gathered for the monthly meeting of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook.
At the meeting, councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld said the concept already had initial support from a number of those community representatives involved in the meetings.
"We had multiple brainstorming sessions over the course of a year," he said. "It was, 'Let’s make sure there’s even a desire in the community to examine the zoning.' And there was."
The town in September issued a request for qualifications seeking a master planner or consultant to help guide the process.
"It was not about hiring a developer, it was about helping the planning staff because they keep getting cut," he said. "Planning is the fundamental power we have at the town level."
Romaine suggested that Fiore-Rosenfeld draft a resolution that would formally appoint a committee to further explore the redevelopment idea. The "college town" idea got an endorsement Monday in Newdsay, which said:
Romaine – a skillful politician who knows how to get things done – could do a lot to work with the community, calm its fears, and help its leaders to see the value of this plan – not only to the university, but to its neighbors. ... Getting this college town built would be a memorable summation of Romaine's stay in Town Hall.