07/25/14 2:00pm
07/25/2014 2:00 PM

The North Fork Preserve in Northville has been called the county’s “last great park.” (Credit: Tim Gannon file photo)

With plans for Northville’s North Fork Preserve already taking shape, the county Legislature is set to vote Tuesday on the creation of an advisory committee to make recommendations for development and future use of the park.

Because of the park’s 314-acre scale and the number of proposed active uses — which include camping, hiking and horseback riding — the park stands to have “significant” impacts on nearby communities, according to the resolution introduced by Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).

The North Fork Preserve Advisory Committee would be made up of 10 members, including representatives from the county and Riverhead Town government, as well as members of local civic group, an environmental group and horseman’s organizations to gather input from the community and make use recommendations, according to Mr. Krupski’s proposal.

In an interview Friday morning, Mr. Krupski said he made the recommendation after hearing from residents neighboring the park, who had voiced concerns about use and infrastructure, including drainage for storm water runoff. Last winter, the county decided to borrow $850,000 to fix drainage problems coming from the property which have plagued an abutting Northville neighborhood for years.

He said Friday that the community is also interested in completing and inventory of natural resources on the parcel “to make sure that everything on the parcel is protected.”

Mr. Krupski said local input is very important, as the “people who live nearby, who are probably are going to use it the most, should have some input as to how it is developed.”

The county purchased of the final three acres of the Preserve in February 2013 with a price tag of $702,000, while the bulk of the property, two parcels totaling 314 acres, were purchased in 2011 for $18.3 million, according to prior News-Review coverage.

Current plans include leaving 133-acres of the northern section undeveloped for uses like hiking or horseback riding, while the southern portion will be used for more active recreation like camping, tennis and basketball.

The three acres most recently purchased contain existing structures on them which will be used by the Suffolk County Parks Department for a check-in station, parks maintenance equipment, a caretaker residence and include a small office area for parks personnel, Mr. Krupski said during prior to its purchase.

“The North Fork Preserve has been called ‘Suffolk’s last great park’ and I agree with that description,” Mr. Krupski said during the final acquisition. “The park, with fishing, hiking, camping and more, will be a highlight of the entire Suffolk County park system.”

Read more about the committee in the proposed legislation:

North Fork Preserve Advisory Committe

07/14/14 2:31pm
07/14/2014 2:31 PM
Paul and Barbara Stoutenburgh being interviewed in their Cutchogue home in 2011. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

Paul and Barbara Stoutenburgh being interviewed in their Cutchogue home in 2011. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)

When Paul Stoutenburgh was a boy roaming the fields of Cutchogue and fishing in its creeks, it would have been impossible to imagine the impact he’d one day have on the region’s precious natural resources.

But given the gift of hindsight last year, at a ceremony renaming Arshamomaque Pond Preserve in Mr. Stoutenburgh’s honor, county Legislator Al Krupski did his part to put it in perspective.

“He helped change the culture of the town,” Mr. Krupski said of the longtime environmentalist. “He really had a vision of the town going into the future.”

Mr. Stoutenburgh, a longtime Cutchogue resident, died at his home Sunday surrounded by family members. He was 92.

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07/07/14 8:00am
07/07/2014 8:00 AM
Former baykeeper Kevin McAllister at the wheel on the water. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Former baykeeper Kevin McAllister at the wheel on the water. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

After he was ousted from the Peconic Baykeeper program in March, ex-president Kevin McAllister now has his own group devoted to protecting Long Island waters.

Following a 16-year run with the advocacy group, Mr. McAllister founded Defend H2O last month with former East End business owner Skip Tollefsen and environmental consultant Mike Bottini.  (more…)

06/28/14 10:00am
06/28/2014 10:00 AM
(Credit: The Nature Conservancy)

This map uses pie charts to break down the various sources and levels of nitrogen pollution found in the Peconic Estuary from Calverton to Montauk and Orient. Click on map to enlarge. (Credit: The Nature Conservancy)

The Nature Conservancy released a report last week on the various ways nitrogen finds its way from the air and land and into surface waters throughout the Peconic Estuary.

The report’s data shows that causes of nitrogen pollution vary significantly across the East End.

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06/27/14 12:00pm
06/27/2014 12:00 PM
A view of the bay and SHelter Island from Pepi's Restaurant in Southold, near Port of Egypt. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A view of the bay and SHelter Island from Pepi’s Restaurant in Southold, near Port of Egypt. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Despite the op/ed pieces, press conferences, television appearances and lobbying by county and state officials and environmentalists from across the region, 2014 may not be the year for clean water on Long Island.

The state Senate failed to act last week on sweeping legislation aimed at safeguarding Nassau and Suffolk county’s many bays and tributaries, Long Island Sound and groundwater aquifers.

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06/23/14 12:00pm
06/23/2014 12:00 PM
This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

This sod farm on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of the railroad, may host a 38-acre solar energy farm. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

A solar company out of San Francisco has proposed building over 30,000 solar panels on a Calverton sod farm, the second large solar farm in the area pitched in recent weeks.

S Power Solar is planning on buying 45 acres from DeLalio Sod Farms on the east side of Edwards Avenue, just north of Tuthill Petroleum and the Long Island Rail Road. The site is just north of a LIPA/PSEG Long Island substation.

The proposal is to build 30,460 solar energy panels on 38 acres of the land, with the capacity of generating up to 6.3 megawatts of energy.

S Polar has a purchase agreement with LIPA/PSEGLI to sell the power to the utility provider. The 20-year agreement is facing time constraints, the applicant said at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Planning Board meeting, where they urged the board to approve the project quickly.

The Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on the plan, scheduled for July 17 at 3 p.m.

S Power Solar also will need three property line setback variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has a June 26 hearing planned.

The Planning Board also recently granted preliminary site plan approval to another solar farm in the same area.

STR Systems of Kingston, N.Y. is leasing 14 acres south of the Riverhead Charter School on Route 25 in Calverton, just east of Edwards Avenue, in order to build 13,068 solar panels that would produce about three megawatts of power, which also would be sold to LIPA/PSEG.

That applicant also has said they have a 20-year agreement with LIPA/PSEG and as such, face time constraints in getting the project approved.

Both projects are located in land zoned for industrial uses, although the DeLalio property is currently being used as a sod farm.

Figuring out where to permit solar farms came up in town hall recently, as the Riverhead Town Board discussed a proposal on Thursday to ban solar farms that sell energy back to LIPA/PSEG on all agriculturally-zoned property, and to only allow it in industrially-zoned land.

The prohibition would not apply to farms that have solar panels to generate power for the farm operation, rather than to sell to a LIPA/PSEG. It also wouldn’t apply to the town itself, which is proposing to build solar panels on a number of town-owned properties.

In addition, the proposed prohibition discussed by the Town Board would only apply to ground-based solar panels, as opposed to ones mounted on a building.

“If you allow this use on farmland, they will come in here in droves and turn it into an industrial property,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who is a farmer, said he feels that permitting the sale of solar energy could drive up the price of farmland, and if that happens, “goodbye future farmland, because no one will be able to afford it.”

The Town Board will need to hold a public hearing on its proposal to ban solar farms on agriculturally-zoned land, but has yet to set that date.

06/21/14 4:00pm
06/21/2014 4:00 PM
County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) presenting Lori Luscher and Greta Schiller with proclamations thanking them for their work removing the invasive plant phragmites from Marion Lake. (Credit: Carrie Miller Photo)

County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) presenting Greta Schiller (left) and Lori Luscher with proclamations thanking them for their work removing the invasive plant phragmites from Marion Lake. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

Community awareness and promoting activism were the themes of the evening at the North Fork Environmental Council’s annual environmental awards ceremony Thursday, where the nonprofit thanked several groups for their contributions to the local environment.

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