Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski said he heard the Calverton community “loud and clear” Wednesday night: don’t use the Beagle Club property as Long Island ABATE’s home.
So, it won’t happen.
The plan to use two acres on the 150-acre Edwards Avenue property — which holds a clubhouse and a pair of barns — as the home for the nonprofit motorcycle advocacy group will now be scrapped after members of the community opposed the idea at a Greater Calverton Civic Association meeting Wednesday night, Mr. Krupski said.
“That’s not going to happen,” he said. “I’m going to reach out to colleagues and let them know the community is against it.”
- E-MAIL NEWSLETTER: Sign up, and have the news waiting in your inbox every morning
The Suffolk County Legislature had passed a resolution to move forward with the idea exactly one month ago after purchasing the property for $9 million to use as parkland in 2012.
However Greater Calverton Civic Association president Rex Farr had said he was not aware of the proposal when it was voted on in May, nor did L.I. Pine Barrens Society executive Richard Amper, who originally lobbied for the parcel’s preservation.
Mr. Krupski said residents at the Wednesday night meeting were concerned about how motorcycle noise would affect the nearby residential areas.
“I understand that,” he said. “I really appreciate that people are protective of their homes. It was a good meeting in that respect.”
At this morning’s Riverhead Town Board meeting, board members discussed adopting a resolution on Tuesday which would call for the contract with L.I. ABATE to be rescinded, and for the county to put out a request for proposals for use of the property.
Councilman John Dunleavy called the use of the property by L.I. ABATE “inappropriate.”
Mr. Krupski said he will formally ask the community for suggestions for the property, which includes 150 acres of trails. He also said he will investigate why county employees were at the property Wednesday, after having been told that there was no money in the county’s budget to pay for upkeep.
The proposal by L.I. ABATE — which stands for American Bikers for Awareness, Training & Education — intended to use the clubhouse in exchange for maintenance of the building, according to the resolution passed by the Legislature. ABATE’s president, Jim Barr — who also works as the County’s Parks Superintendent — told the county that he hoped to use the property for ABATE’s general monthly meetings, weekend get-togethers and public events such as drivers’ education and motorcycle classroom safety courses, as well as fundraisers to put dollars back into renovating the property.
The legislator said the county will come up with a new plan to use the property as parkland, one that is backed by both the legislature and the community.
“At the very least, we should be opening up the trails for people to walk on,” Mr. Krupski said.
Mr. Farr said a straw poll was taken at the meeting; only one person of the dozens there supported the project, he said.
“All voices were heard,” he said. “I’m glad that civics can make a difference. Communities do matter.”
Mr. Farr said he appreciated Mr. Krupski appearing at the meeting last night to listen to resident’s concerns. Town Supervisor Sean Walter — who had opposed the idea — Town Councilperson Jodi Giglio, and representatives from L.I. ABATE and the county were also in attendance.
“That takes a certain amount of courage, and that’s how government should work,” Mr. Farr said.