Suffolk County EPA committee to discuss Beagle Club property

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Daschund Club owners release their dogs for field trials at the Beagle Club's land in 2005.

The Suffolk County Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture committee is scheduled to meet today at 2 p.m.

The EPA committee is expected to discuss the pending purchase of the Long Island Beagle Club’s 150 acres on the west side of Edwards Avenue in Calverton. Scroll down to view the complete agenda.

County Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) is sponsoring a resolution to finalize the $8.9 million sale. He had to reintroduce his bill in January because he failed to get it through by the end of 2011. The bill was tabled Jan. 30 by the EPA committee, chaired by Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket).

It’s that acquisition, which has been stalled in the Legislature, that sparked a public debate about the entire status of the land acquisition program late last year. Environmentalists, such as Richard Amper of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, have pointed to the environmental merits of acquiring the Beagle Club property despite the findings of a legislative committee, which ranked the property low on its 1-to-100 scoring chart.

The EPA committee is also expected to discuss a bill sponsored by Ms. Hahn that would freeze land acquisitions for 90 days. Ms. Hahn said the 90 days would also give the county’s planning department time to re-prioritize its “master list,” which is the county’s internal list of parcels targeted for acquisition, and figure out a better method for considering purchase proposals. Deals where the seller has already signed a contract with the county would be exempt from the 90-day delay.

Other items listed on today’s agenda include: Authorizing planning steps for the acquisition under the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program of the Gorman property in Riverhead Town and Toppings Farm in Brookhaven Town. Both bills are sponsored by Mr. Romaine.

Suffolk County Legislature’s EPA committee agenda, March 5, 2012