Editorial: Do the right thing on renting out properties

The former Long Island Beagle Club off Edwards Avenue in Calverton. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
The former Long Island Beagle Club off Edwards Avenue in Calverton. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

About a month ago, the News-Review questioned whether a plan to offer land preserved through Suffolk’s Drinking Water Protection Program would be best suited for a motorcycle advocacy group.

Turns out, we weren’t the only ones. 

A plan for Long Island ABATE — American Bikers for Awareness, Training and Education — to occupy the former Beagle Club on Edwards Avenue was met with fierce opposition from Calverton residents last week, stopping the contract from moving forward.

It was encouraging to see county Legislator Al Krupski respond to those most concerned about the deal, offering to pull his support within hours after hearing the opposition in person. No harm, no foul — right? Kind of.

While it’s nice to see that democracy prevailed here — thanks in large part to the efforts of the Greater Calverton Civic Association — questions do remain about how this happened in the first place and what will be done to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. Meeting with locals about the future use of the Beagle Club is a logical next step to ensure that the property is used to its fullest potential.

But what happens next time the county Legislature agrees to lease county-owned space to an organization without knowing that nearby residents have absolutely no interest in the plan? And without following any type of formal request for proposals process in seeking the best-suited renters?

There shouldn’t be a next time.

County leaders should be taking a hard look at how best to find and manage prospective tenants responsibly and how to do so in an open and active manner that allows the best use of all county resources for all parties involved — those within county government as well as the general public.