Members of the community will have the chance to publicly comment on the newest iteration of the Carmans River Protection Plan, after the Brookhaven Town Board passed a resolution that set two public meetings on the issue.
The meetings will be held at Town Hall on May 30 at 6 p.m. and June 2 at 1 p.m. with the goal of soliciting community input – a key component that the original plan lacked, according to First District councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld.
"They had these meetings but they had them called 'the Carmans River protection plan' and only had them at Town Hall," Fiore-Rosenfeld told The Village Times Herald in a recent interview. "How many people from Three Village are going to show up to a meeting for a river they've never heard of?"
Additionally, the town anticipates that individual councilmembers may hold public meetings on the topic within their individual council districts as well.
The new proposal on the table is an open space bond of up to $40 million that would allocate $30 million to preserving critical properties in the Carmans River Watershed, which fall within Council District 4. The rest would be spread across the other five council districts for similar purposes.
The new proposal will also present the idea of a new mixed use code "which encourages development and redevelopment of fully integrated mixed-use sites, to provide for appropriately located next generation housing stock that would be attractive and reasonably priced for young people and seniors on a fixed income," according to Tuesday's resolution.
The original plan called for the creation of development credits and "receiving zones" in various hamlets throughout the Town of Brookhaven, which would have given developers the rights to build multifamily housing units in certain areas. The in Port Jefferson Station and the former property were initial receiving zones that caused public uproar.
In the new plan, "there are no receiving sites ... The major focus here is to open up the process," Fourth District councilwoman Connie Kepert said.
Initial responses to the new plan have been mixed.
"The addition of the volume of housing and the influx of people would be devastating," said William Hart, first assistant chief of the Medford Fire Department. "In my opinion we would have great difficulty in addressing this burden."
However, Peter Oleschuck, vice president of the Rocky Point Civic Association, said he has heard support for the new plan. "It looks like we can really work together…to really save all of Brookhaven, not just the Carmans River, because we all have issues in our community and we can’t wait to be heard," he said.