Splits in Wading River, Calverton under county redistricting plan

05/15/2012 1:00 PM |

COURTESY MAP | This map shows the proposed county redistricting lines, which includes moving Shelter Island into the 2nd legislative district.

Shelter Island and the Brookhaven Town side of Calverton and Wading River will no longer be in Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine’s district in 2014 if a new redistricting plan announced this week is approved.

Mr. Romaine (R-Center Moriches), who represents the 1st Legislative District, said county Democrats have proposed new district lines after a nonpartisan redistricting commission failed to meet its February deadline.

Under the new proposal, Shelter Island will move into the 2nd Legislative District, which is represented by Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk)..

Redistricting occurs every 10 years to reflect population statistics gathered during the U.S. Census.

The plan aims to a create a population of about 83,000 in each district, Mr. Romaine said.

“I’m sad to lose Shelter Island as part of my district,” Mr. Romaine said. “I will rigorously represent them for the next 19 months, until the end of the term.”

Mr. Romaine said the Legislature, which has a 12-6 Democratic majority, could vote on the redistricting plan next month. If approved, the new lines will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

The county’s announcement comes on the heels of the New York State Assembly’s redistricting plan, which was approved in March and also lumps Shelter Island with the South Fork.

Shelter Island Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty, who is also chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association, said although both East End county legislators have been active in helping preserve the island’s quality of life, he’d prefer maintaining the status quo.

“I have a personal preference to continue with Ed, but I greatly respect Jay,” Mr. Dougherty said. “I really hope [Mr. Romaine] continues to represents us. We have a large senior population here and he has helped us with our senior citizen programs.”

In addition to lumping Shelter Island with the South Fork, the proposed redistricting plan aims to move the Brookhaven Town side of Calverton into Mr. Schneiderman’s district and the Brookhaven Town portion of Wading River into the 6th Legislative District, which is represented by Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai).

Mr. Romaine, who described the look of the new lines as a “jigsaw puzzle,” said he believes those areas should remain in his district.

“I don’t want to see communities split,” Mr. Romaine said. “You should draw the lines to be as compact as possible.”

jennifer@timesreview.com