Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Town-installed Bulkhead ‘Disappearing,' According to Village Activist


By KELLY CAMPBELL

Village resident and civic activist Sally Wadsworth says the bulkhead installed by the Town of Huntington two years is ago at the so-called clammers dock is literally “disappearing.”

“Whatever they built is not right for our conditions,” she said, presenting the Board with photographs showing the rapid deterioration. “It’s not very environmentally friendly. It’s ugly. It looks like we don’t care about it. Someone is going to hurt themselves. Or lose a dog. Things are falling into the harbor.”

And when she informed the Northport Village Board of this at its Tuesday, May 1 meeting, Mayor George Doll, a lobsterman by trade, said he thoroughly agrees.

“It’s been falling in since [the Town] built it,” he said. “I’m glad you have the picture of the south slip because when the contractor jettied the material in there he dug up the bottom and there were all kinds of rocks, batteries, everything and we asked him, ‘are you going to take that out?’ and he said, ‘no. In fact, I’m not allowed to take that out.”

DEC Approves Water Authority's Drilling Request


By KELLY CAMPBELL

After four days of hearings in September and almost eight months of deliberating by an administrative law judge, the State Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the Suffolk County Water Authority be allowed to drill into the deepest and oldest water-bearing layer of the Long Island aquifer system, the Lloyd Aquifer.

After the hearing last fall, state DEC Administrative Law Judge Maria E. Villa said that the SCWA should be granted a waiver from a 20-year-old moratorium disallowing drilling in the well, located near the Veteran’s Administration Hospital on Middleville Road in Northport, according to the 75-page document decision written on May 7 but released June 5.

Monday, October 24, 2011

From Tracks to Trail

The steam locomotive that travled through the woods near Northport tHigh School.

Former Town Councilman Stu Besen with Margo Myles, Coordinator of Historic Preservation.
By KELLY CAMPBELL

Until the 1970s, a K4 steam locomotive traveled through the woods across from Northport High School on railroad tracks that led to Northport Lumber.

That same path, or at least 4.4 acres of it just west of Maplewood Road owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, is close to being preserved as part of the federal Rails to Trails program in a license agreement between the MTA and the Town of Huntington.

“We’re getting this at no cost to taxpayers,” said Town Councilman Stuart Besen, in photo above with Margo Myles, the Town's Coordinator of Historic Preservation. Councilman Besen sponsored the resolution approved unanimously at the Board’s May 22 meeting.

“The charge is one dollar but the MTA agreed to waive even that.” The Town of Huntington’s Environmental and Open Space committee recommended the Town Board execute a license agreement with the MTA after Neal Keavney, a Town resident, who lives nearby and uses it frequently, nominated the trail for preservation.

The committee then walked the wooded trail that no longer has railroad slats on it, according to Margo Myles, Coordinator of Open Space. Before officially opening what will be known as the Laurel Hill Rail Trail to the public, the Town will clear it of dangerous debris and items that have been dumped there.

The debris includes two large hardened piles of asphalt and building materials. “We also have to add some drainage and make sure that the access points are safe,” Ms. Myles said. It can be accessed at several spots including a small entry on Laurel Hill Road just east of Maplewood.

At the same time, Councilman Besen, said the Town seeks to leave the trail in as much of a natural state as possible similar to the Henry Ingraham Nature Preserve. “We want to clear it a little and make sure that the walking paths are navigable but the goal is to keep it natural,” he said.

Ms. Myles said that “Rails to Trails” is a natural program. “It’s not a name the Town made up,” she said. “It’s a national movement to convert abandoned rail corridors into park space and there’s no more natural conversion.”

Mr. Keavney, who remembers when the locomotives traveled that route to get to the lumberyard, said that the trail is widely used and he has not come across anyone who opposed preserving it as park space. “I bicycle back there and I know others who do. I’ve seen people back there with all-terrain strollers, joggers, just people walking so I definitely think it’s positive,” he said.

The trail is especially important to the surrounding area residents, because their neighborhood comprised of hilly roads, no sidewalks and small shoulders, does not lend itself to pedestrians.

An adjacent 4.7-acre parcel owned by the New York State Department of Transportation will likely become part of the Town’s park system as well, if all goes as planned. This land was originally meant to extend Route 231, a road that currently travels from Route 27A to Deer Park Avenue, but those plans were killed in 1982 and the property has been unused since then, according to Eileen Peters, Public Information Officer for the DOT’s Long Island Region office.

An application was also filed with the Town at one point for the property to be developed as homes and the plat to be called Orchard Court Plat. “We’ve been working closely with [State Legislator] Andrew Raia to work out a license agreement with the state that is similar to the MTA agreement,” Councilman Besen said. The residents became alarmed when the DOT sent letters out to area residents in early 2006 telling them that the property might be sold because of unauthorized use.

“From what we can see, some have taken over the property as their own including planting vegetable gardens. That’s illegal. You cannot use state property without proper permission,” Ms. Peters said, adding that the DOT would likely approve a transfer to a local municipality for a “nominal” fee. A resolution was approved at the Town of Huntington’s June 20, 2006 Board meeting requesting the DOT transfer the property.

The Town seeks park stewards for the Laurel Hill Rail Trail and for its many beaches and parks who will be, as Ms. Myles said, “the eyes, ears and mouth” of the parks, filing two reports each year and alerting the Town to any serious problems that need to be addressed. Anyone interested in being a park steward should contact the Town’s Conservation Board at 351-3398 or attend a meeting June 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Owners of Historic Main Street Building May Demo to Make Way for Retail


By KELLY CAMPBELL

The new owners of the turn of the century home at 189 Main Street may have plans to knock it down.

At the May 27 Northport Village Planning Board meeting, a “pre-preliminary site plan application” was on the agenda for the Board. The owners, Danielle and Jonathan Panichella, canceled their appearance before the Board prior to the meeting. Board member Liz Thalheimer, however, broached the topic in the couple’s absence.

“Although it’s just heresy right now, but their long term ideas are different from the current site plan,” she said.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pizzeria's Trike Has Code Enforcement Irked

By KELLY CAMPBELL

When Angela Badolato took over the pizza parlor on Main Street in April, formerly Michelangelo’s, she changed just about everything including the menu, the building façade and the sign.

“Everyone has said they love it,” she said.

For the most part, she said her transition to owner/operator of Auntie A’s has gone well. That is until she parked a delivery trike painted black with the Auntie A logo and phone number at the Northport Village waterfront daily over the summer.

She has received several summonses from Northport Village Code Compliance Officer Bud Rudloff and was told she could not leave the trike parked at the waterfront.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Board of Ed Upholds its Anonymous Letter Policy

By KELLY CAMPBELL

When anonymous letters arrive in the post office box reserved for Northport-East Northport School District Board of Education members or administrators, Clerk Christa McCulloch follows the Board of Education’s policy and throws them away without further review.

After a lengthy discussion at its July 2 meeting, the Board voted 4-2 to continue that policy, number 8346, which reads, "Anonymous communications will be ignored and destroyed, and will not be processed in accord with the procedures contained in this policy.” Those procedures include marking the document with a “received” stamp and recording the date. Trustees Denise Summers Mumm and Phil Fortuna voted no.

Board President Arlene Munson supported upholding the policy stating, “I can’t contact or protect Mr. or Mrs. Anonymity.”

Friday, August 10, 2007

After Oil Plume, Service Station Owners Seek Change of Use Approval

By KELLY CAMPBELL

The owner of the former Delta Gas Station at the corner of Woodbine Avenue and Fort Salonga Road have submitted a change of use application for the site, closed since January after an oil plume was discovered in Northport Harbor by workers from Britannia Yachting Center.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation determined the plume was likely caused by oil discarded improperly years ago at the Delta Gas Station and required owner Adil Bayat who lists addresses in West Islip and to do what are called tank pressure tests of the gasoline tanks to be sure they weren’t leaking.

After seven months of work, Mr. Bayat is ready to reopen but wants to change the use from a service and gasoline station to a gasoline station convenience store. The Northport Village Planning Board will consider the plan at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, August 7 meeting. The site is in the highway business district so a convenience store is an allowed use.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Asharoken Trustees Accused of Improper Caucusing


By KELLY CAMPBELL

The allegation of improper caucusing raised a ruckus at the Asharoken Village Board’s monthly meeting Monday, August 6.
Trustee Pat Irving as well as several members of the audience voiced their concern about Mayor Bill Kelly meeting privately with Deputy Mayor Robert Marks and Trustees Alex Janow and Eric Fauser, all three registered members of the Village’s Taxpayer’s Party

Trustee Irving said she has been inexplicably excluded from what she calls “closed political caucuses to discuss Village business” and according to state open government laws, “caucuses unique to our Village are against the law.”
Mayor Kelly disagreed stating that, “The three of us can caucus right now,” meaning he and the other two Trustees, Fauser and Janow, who are registered Independent nationally.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Approved by Voters in May, Work Begins at Norwood Elementary


Work began last week on at least one project approved by voters on May 15. Proposition 2 sought voter approval to expend funds for two capital projects from both the district’s existing capital reserve fund and the general fund for two capital projects.

The capital reserve fund was approved by the voters in May 1997 and provided for an annual $500,000 budgetary allocation to the reserve account.

The two projects recommended for the 2007-2008 year were replacement of remaining classroom windows at Norwood Avenue Elementary School for a cost estimated at $167,000 and replacement/renovation of classroom windows at Ocean Avenue Elementary School for a cost estimated at $333,000.

Other work to be done to Northport-East Northport School district buildings this year was approved by voters May 15 under Proposition 3, which provides capital project funding in addition to the State Education Department Building Aid. Northport is eligible to receive a total combined aid of $2,8623,00—$2,089,719 from the State under the EXCEL program and $772,281 in SED Building Aid—for: security systems for the two middle schools similar to the high school at a cost of $897,500; enhanced security measures at all elementary schools and the William J. Brosnan Building on Laurel Avenue at a cost of $409,300; renovation of the heating system at Dickinson Avenue Elementary School at a cost of $57,500; replacement of floor tiles in several classrooms at Northport Middle School at a cost of $80,000; renovation of student lavatories at Dickinson Avenue at a cost of $70,500; replacement of hallway ceiling tiles and lighting at Norwood, Pulaski and Fifth Avenue Elementary Schools and East Northport Middle School at a cost of $552,200; window replacement at Northport Middle School at a cost of $795,000.

Although the money is not a loan, the district will incur minimal costs associated with the borrowing of funds and the lag time in receiving aid.
—K. Campbell

Monday, June 4, 2007

Town prepares Crab Meadow for summer


Town of Huntington bulldozers graded the sand on Crab Meadow Beach Friday, May 18 in preparation for the start of the busy summer season that unofficially began Memorial Day weekend.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Preservation legislation subject of public hearing

By KELLY CAMPBELL

Northport’s picturesque Main Street is one of its chief assets as far as the value of homes as well as drawing outside visitors. That’s according to Mayor George Doll, at right in photo, and Trustee Henry Tobin, at left, among others, who are pressing for amended Architectural Historic Review Board legislation that will protect buildings that have historic significance.

“It came to our attention that our beautiful buildings, which represent Northport, are protected from renovation but not from elimination. When we began looking at the ‘Archie’s’ code closer we realized that they can deny a demolition permit but it’s not binding,” Mayor Doll said in an interview Tuesday.

“We found someone can apply to Archie’s for a demo permit and they can deny it but then the person can just say, ‘Thank you very much’ and go get their demo permit from the Building Department. We went to [Village Attorney] Jim Matthews and said we want to make it binding. He said we had to have a reason for denying the demolition permit and the way we can do that is through historic preservation legislation. But this really doesn’t change much. People still need to come before the Archie’s for approval on facades and signs. All that changes is the Archie’s can deny a demo permit on the grounds of historical significance.”