05/13/16 12:00pm
05/13/2016 12:00 PM

Kara Hahn

With one bill — the Campaign Finance Reform Act — already before the Suffolk Legislature and aimed at corruption in the county’s electoral process, a group of Suffolk legislators led by Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) is putting together another measure that would set up an office to investigate corruption, fraud and waste in Suffolk government and protect whisteblowers.


06/09/15 12:52pm
06/09/2015 12:52 PM
Neal Lewis (second from right) presents a proposed county Climate Action Plan at Tuesday's meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Neal Lewis (second from right) presents a proposed county Climate Action Plan at Tuesday’s meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

In an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Suffolk County is hoping an incentive for business and homeowners to improve their buildings will help spur upgrades on outdated structures.

A low-cost, long-term financing program to help cover the costs of those upgrades was pitched on Monday as a means to help finance them.


09/30/14 8:12am
09/30/2014 8:12 AM
Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Tick committee members meeting in Riverside at its first meeting in July. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

It seems as though the county’s tick committee will get more time to sink their teeth into the tick problem.

After learning at its first meeting in July that it might only have one or two meetings to help develop a plan for Suffolk County to stem the tide of a growing presence of tick-borne illnesses, the county legislature’s Tick Control Advisory Committee may be around for another year, at least.

A resolution was approved on Monday by the county’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee extending its life until Suffolk’s 2016 Annual Vector Control Plan is adopted next fall. It now requires support from the full body after passing the committee unanimously.

“It was only meant to make suggestions early on,” said Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Montuak), the South Fork legislator who co-sponsored the legislation creating the committee. “But now the committee is expanding somewhat to have a little bit more of an ongoing role while a plan is being implemented.”

The tick problem on the East End came to a head over the past year most publicly in the form of a debate over whether or not a $225,000 deer cull was the right move to help trip the deer herd. Leaders said before, during and after the cull — which reported killing just 192 of the county’s 25,000 – 36,000 deer — that a comprehensive approach toward trimming the herd would be key in combating Lyme Disease and the presence of ticks in the county.

Dr. John Rasweiler, a Southold Town resident who is on the committee, said at the committee’s first meeting at the end of July that after hearing what was expected of it, its original set of expectations simply wouldn’t fit with the timeline given.

“I understand the head of vector control is under some pressure to come up with a plan … by mid-September. He has to prepare some sort of report but I think that is asking a lot from the committee,” he said at the time. “I think even for the committee to narrow down to a series of serious recommendations, that is a pretty tight schedule.”

Mr. Rasweiler — a member of Southold’s deer management committee who has submitted opinion pieces to The Suffolk Times on the topic himself — said on Monday afternoon that giving the committee an extension was undoubtedly the right call.

“It’s probably necessary becasue were dealing with some very complex issues, and anybody who thought we were going to have this all wrapped up by this time was dreaming,” he said. “It’s better to do the job properly than in haste.”

By this time next year, the committee could have another set of tasks on its hands, so it could be given another goal or extension. Time will tell, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“The narrow respect which it was formed for — to guide the division to develop a plan — I don’t think they are going to need to do that forever. Maybe another year is enough, and then it can do other things — research better diagnostic tools, research into a cure — whatever that might be — or look at ways to improve public education.”

06/19/14 3:47pm
06/19/2014 3:47 PM
Legislation has passed both houses of the New York State legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of killing free-ranging mute swans. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Legislation has passed both houses of the New York State legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of killing free-ranging mute swans. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

It looks like the swans won’t be killed. Or at least if they are killed, it will now come as a last resort.

Legislation has passed both houses of the state Legislature that would prioritize non-lethal methods of controlling the free-ranging mute swan population.

The measure comes less than six months after the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it wanted every mute swan in the state killed or captured by the year 2025. (more…)

06/04/14 4:00pm
06/04/2014 4:00 PM
The land on the west side of Park Road will likely be preserved as farmland by Suffolk County. (Credit: Google Maps)

The land on the west side of Park Road and north of Sound Avenue will likely be preserved as farmland by Suffolk County. (Credit: Google Maps)

It looks like they won’t be paving one parcel on Sound Avenue and putting up a parking lot.

While one 14.7-acre parcel had one been slated for a shopping center, the Suffolk County Legislature voted unanimously to authorize the purchase of its farmland development rights, disallowing any future commercial development on site.

The development rights purchase totals $1,238,160, or $84,000 per acre. The deal still awaits County Executive Steve Bellone’s signature, but the resolution to authorize the approval was introduced in the legislature at the request of Mr. Bellone.

The land is owned by Boom Development, headed by Ed Broidy of Southampton, and is located at the northwest corner of Park Road and Sound Avenue in the Reeves Park community. Mr. Broidy has already accepted the offer, according to the county resolution authorizing the deal.

In 2013, the county had planned to purchase the property as open space, with the goal being to make it a park and fitness trail. The proposal would have required Riverhead Town to pay for the cost of creating the park, which officials said at the time would cost about $76,000, and to maintain the park in the future.

As the Town Board was considering the resolution to approve the town’s part in the open space arrangement, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman George Gabrielsen objected, saying the town doesn’t have the money to build the park, and instead arguing that the county should preserve the land as farmland. The two penned an opinion piece with the News-Review arguing the same.

With Supervisor Sean Walter abstaining on the issue because he once represented Mr. Broidy as an attorney, the open space plan lacked the three votes necessary to be gain approval, and the Town Board’s other two members eventually threw their support behind the farmland preservation plan.

Under the farmland preservation scenario, the county would purchase the development rights from the land, which is actively farmed, and it could continue to be farmed, but could not be developed.

The county has never publicly revealed what the purchase price would have been as open space.

Ms. Giglio brought up the fact that the county legislature was voting on the farmland preservation resolution during Tuesday’s Riverhead Town Board meeting.

“Hopefully, this land will remain a farm for another couple hundred years and it won’t be a park, so we won’t have to worry about maintaining it or spending any money,” she said.

She and Mr. Gabrielsen have argued that this land has been farmed for more than 200 years.

Mr. Broidy had proposed a commercial shopping center on the property in 2003, around the same time that EMB Enterprises, headed by Kenney Barra, proposed a commercial development on the northeast corner of Sound Avenue and Park Road.

The Town Board at the time rezoned both properties, as well as property on the south side of Sound Avenue, in response to opposition from Reeves Park residents toward the commercial applications. That resulted in lawsuits being filed by all property owners.

While Mr. Barra and the property owner on the south side of Sound Avenue, R & K Precision Autoworks, prevailed in their lawsuits against the town’s rezoning, Mr. Broidy had been working on a settlement of his lawsuit.

The land owned by Mr. Barra eventually was purchased by the county as well two years ago, and is now a September 11, 2001 Memorial Park.

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