Town of Huntington

The town of Huntington operates with a four-member council and a town supervisor. Currently, the supervisor is a Republican and two of the four council members are Democrats. Six names are on the ballot for Huntington’s town council, and voters can choose two candidates to serve a four-year term. The outcome of this election will determine majority party rule. 

Two incumbents are running for reelection: Joan Cergol (D) and Eugene Cook (R). Cergol is cross-endorsed by the Green, Working Families and Independence parties. Cook is cross-endorsed by the Conservative, Libertarian and Independence parties. Challengers include Kathleen Cleary (D) and Andre Sorrentino (R), who is cross-endorsed by the Conservative and Working Families parties. Eleanor Putignano is running on the Green Party. Patrick Deegan is running as a Libertarian. 

Putignano and Deegan, though they are listed on the ballot, were unable to be reached and did not attend the candidate debate hosted by TBR News Media. Deegan later agreed to a telephone interview. 

In general, Huntington’s hot topics center on overdevelopment, water quality, parking and the high cost of living.  

Joan Cergol

Joan Cergol, after being elected in 2018 to serve a vacated one-year term seat, is running again this year for a full four-year term. A lifelong Huntington resident who has worked as a communications specialist, she is one of two Democrats on a four-member board. Cergol said that she considers herself an independent voice that works for all people in the Town of Huntington. 

“If you want someone with a steady hand and head, a warm heart, a strong work ethic, all driven by an overarching desire, in all decisions made and votes cast, to simply do the right thing for Huntington, I’m your choice for town board,” Cergol states in her public profile online.

Cergol’s top concerns include budgetary policies related to appointed positions in town government and the lack of affordable housing.  

“There’s no $1,500-a-month apartments anymore,” she said. 

She said the town can save money for cash-strapped taxpayers if it exercised greater restraint and followed a different process for town employees. People in appointed positions should be qualified and paid fair wages rather than excessive salaries, she said. She favors zero-based budgeting, a system that audits every job position to justify its value and necessity. She also thinks the town can do a better job tapping into available grants to offset expenses, rather than hitting taxpayers up for different projects. 

To address the housing concern, over the last year, Cergol successfully sponsored legislation that allows people, mainly the elderly, to rent out their own home, while living in their own smaller, accessory apartment on premises. The policy, she said, solves multiple housing-related issues, and she said it’s one of her proudest accomplishments during her first year as a legislator. Live-streaming and close-captioned viewing of town meetings were also her initiatives. 

Overall, Cergol considers herself a problem solver of issues big and small and knowledgeable on the mechanisms of government. She said she prefers watching other people cross the finish line, rather than being in the spotlight herself. 

The town, she said, is 95 percent built out. When considering redevelopment and revitalization projects, she said its important to evaluate the economic, social and environmental factors.

Eugene Cook

Eugene Cook has been elected to the town council for two consecutive terms and is running for a third and final term. He sponsored the new term-limit legislation and wants to be the first to leave after three consecutive terms. 

Cook was raised on Long Island and lives in Greenlawn. He’s a welder by trade and owns a building contractor business. 

The LIPA tax certiorari issue, he said, is the town’s greatest challenge and he is committed to pursuing all avenues to fight National Grid, who owns the Northport power plant. LIPA, he said, is out of control. 

Other pressing issues for Cook include overdevelopment. He’d like to see the Village of Huntington designate more areas as historic to preserve its charm. The best way to enhance the community, he said, is through the arts. He is committed to supporting cultural projects that keep Huntington vibrant. Quality of life issues, he said, is and should be a main consideration when evaluating development projects. These approaches, he said, place Huntington on the map as a destination. He opposed the proposed Villadom Mall project in Elwood. The site, he said, is now under consideration for open space preservation. 

To address ongoing need for additional parking, Cook sponsored legislation to purchase the old Chase Bank property at Gerard Avenue and Main Street, which will be leveled and converted to a 71-stall parking lot. The site is an asset, he said, that can always be sold if Uber and other shared drive services replace the demand for parking. Cook opposes the construction of what he called an unsightly, $30 million, multilevel parking garage, because the town may never need it and will likely mismanage the project. 

Cook said he is proud of everything he does as a town council member. Helping veterans, he said, is particularly rewarding. He recently connected the Hispanic community with the police to enroll 250 kids in a new PAL soccer program. The experience, he said, was heartwarming. He also likes helping all mom and pop shops address building issues or whatever their concern may be. 

“It’s my pleasure to serve the community,” he said. 

Kathleen Cleary

Kathleen Cleary is an East Northport resident with experience as a contract manager for Fortune 100 companies. Like Cergol, she said the town is bloated with patronage positions. Her experience overseeing projects to meet time and budget constraints, she said, will help bring transparency and ethical reform to Huntington. Her business administration degree, she said, will also help her streamline town operations through departmental and personnel efficiency assessments.

The lack of adequate parking in downtown Huntington is an ongoing problem. To address issues, Cleary’s ideas include implementing employee parking shuttles. She has no spot in mind, only a concept. Overdevelopment is also a top concern.  

Cleary opposes settling the LIPA suit.

“You can’t just sit back and let them walk all over us,” she said. 

She is impressed with community activism about the issue over the last few years. Because the Northport power plant is not an isolated case in one town, she said state government needs to offer remedies. 

Overall, Cleary said her people skills, experience with government contracting and navigating bureaucracy makes her a good candidate for better efficiency and cost-cutting in town government.

Cleary also has a background in horticulture and is a Cornell certified master gardener. These skills, she said, provides insights into how to address water quality issues. She’s been involved with Long Island Native Plant Initiative, the Huntington League of Women Voters and Keep Islip Clean Project Bloom. 

Andre Sorrentino

Andre Sorrentino is also a lifelong Huntington resident and owner of PAS Professional Automotive Services. He promises to bring the small businessman perspective to town council. He loves Huntington and said he believes in getting things done. He’s proud to be a family man. 

“I want to be the guy people go to,” Sorrentino said. 

Sorrentino has insights into the town’s highway department, where he has been director of general services since February 2018. In that post, he’s helped to beautify parks. As an automotive inspector, he said that he sees firsthand that the poor state of the town’s highway equipment needs to be addressed.   

Sorrentino said he feels a strong obligation to give back. He’s serving his fifth year as Huntington fire commissioner. He has gained a reputation in the community for his work handing out turkeys to families in need around Thanksgiving. Last year’s drive donated 2,660 turkeys. 

As a tradesman, Sorrentino said that he would like to see the town promote apprenticeship programs, an idea that both Cergol and Cleary also see as important. 

Patrick Deegan

Patrick Deegan is running a grassroots campaign with no money, no fundraising and just relying on support from neighbor to neighbor.  He’s running on issues of water quality and soil contamination that can potentially cause a health crisis.

He said he’s worn four hats in life: semiprofessional distance runner, business man, a talent agent and for the last 17 years an unpaid advocate.  

Deegan suffers from a connective tissue disorder that prevents him from physical labor but allows him research issues. Deegan said that he has been operating as a lobbyist, but since he’s not paid, he’s really an advocate.  

He said he has researched topics and has worked behind the scenes to address issues such as opposing the Villadom development project and raising awareness statewide on fentanyl. 

“This is what I’m doing with my free time now, “ said Deegan.  “I want to help people.”  

The job as town representative requires mental challenges.  

If elected, Deegan will strive for more community-based leadership. He praises the work of civic organization and people who band together like the Fort Salonga Property Owners Association, which opposes the golf course development.

“If a tree falls down, we don’t need to wait three days for the town to come,” he said. “We can get it taken care of.”

Suffolk County legislators approved a $3.2 billion budget for 2020 Nov. 6. TBR News Media file photo

County residents got a glimpse of the county’s budget process as the operating budget working group held its first public meeting Oct. 17 when the 2019-20 recommended operating budget was discussed.  

The county operating budget funds employee payroll costs, county departments and a variety of other expenditures. The status of the budget has been in the spotlight since the New York State comptroller, Tom DiNapoli (D), said Suffolk was under “significant fiscal stress” — with Nassau — for the second year in a row. In 2018, Suffolk had an operating deficit of about $26.5 million and a general fund balance deficit of $285 million. 

The topic has been an important issue in the county executive race. The current incumbent, Steve Bellone (D), has stated that during his tenure he has worked to bring the county spending and finances back in check. John Kennedy Jr., the county comptroller and Republican challenger for executive, has stated that the county is in a “fiscal crisis.”

Here is what legislators discussed at the meeting. The proposed operating budget for 2019-20 will be $3.2 billion, an increase from last year’s $3.1 billion budget. 

The recommended budget would look to increase property taxes by $14.66 million (2.14 percent), according to the report. The increase is comprised of a rise in police district property taxes of $16.56 million (2.8 percent). 

The police district will face an $11.3 million deficit by the end of 2019. It is the fourth year in a row that the district will have a deficit. Overtime for the police department in 2019 is estimated at $30.9 million. 

In addition, the county’s general fund, despite seeing an increase of $318 million in revenue from 2015 to 2019, is projected to experience its fifth consecutive deficit in 2019. Combined with the police district, the county may face an operating deficit of some $20 million. 

Sales tax revenue is projected to increase an additional $48.5 million from 2019-20 or about 4.5 percent.  

Another area of concern is the county payroll. It has increased by $315 million in the last seven years, despite the workforce being reduced by 1,250 positions. From the start of 2019 through Sept. 8, the number of active county employees on the payroll declined by approximately 150, according to the report. The recommended expenditures for employee health care in 2020 is projected to increase by approximately by $22.2 million. 

The Budget Review Office also raised concerns in the report that property taxes in the Southwest Sewer District, which covers parts of Babylon and Islip, would decrease by $2.14 million. This could lead to less funds available for sewer projects and potentially increase borrowing. 

In terms of other revenue, the county is projected to see an increase in funds from video lottery terminals at Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel in Islandia. The revenue brought in will increase to $25 million in 2020 compared to $2.9 million in 2018 and $3.3 million in 2019. 

For homeowners, the proposed county property tax will yield an estimated average tax bill of $1,207, an increase of $25. Average taxes per homeowners will increase by $32 in five western towns, including Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington, and decrease by $2 in the county’s five eastern towns. 

 

Last week, Long Island was slammed and hit by an unexpected fall nor’easter which brought in heavy rains and gusting winds that exceeded 50 mph. 

The powerful winds from the storm caused downed power wires and felled large trees and branches. According to the National Weather Service, parts of Long Island dealt with moderate coastal flooding and about 2-3 inches of rain.   

More than 73,000 PSEG Long Island customers lost power during the storm. Within 48 hours, PSEG restored service to nearly 100 percent of customers affected by the storm on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 16-17, according to PSEG media relations. The rest were restored by that Friday. 

By the end of the nor’easter, crews had removed a total of 1,206 trees and large branches downed by the storm.

In Port Jefferson Harbor a sailing sloop named Grand Prix slipped her moorings and drifted aground in front of Harborfront Park, according to local photographer Gerard Romano who took a photo featured on the cover of this week’s paper. Another sailing vessel called the Summer Place washed ashore in Mount Sinai Harbor.

The Town of Brookhaven Highway Department responded to nearly 250 calls during the 24-hour storm. 

“We worked directly with PSEG as they dispatched their crews to areas where trees had fallen on wires so we could safely remove the debris after the power lines were de-energized,” town Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro (R) said in a statement. “Crews worked throughout the night to clear the roadways swiftly and efficiently.”

 

Indian Hills Country Club. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

More than 60 residents voiced their opinions on the proposed Preserve at Indian Hills development in Fort Salonga at a Town of Huntington Planning Board public hearing Sept. 18 to discuss the draft environmental impact statement on the project. Critics pointed to environmental concerns and negative effects on property values, while supporters viewed the project as beneficial to the community.   

Tony Izzo of Fort Salonga, said the development would have lasting negative impacts on the community. 

“Mr. [Jim] Tsunis [of The Northwind Group] wants to increase the size of the clubhouse by 30 percent and staff by 40 percent to accommodate a large catering restaurant,” he said. “The condos would be incompatible with the character of the neighborhood, it would double the size of the neighborhood.”

Izzo said he bought his house with his wife in 1987 with the assurance that the zoning would be R-40, which allows for the building of 1-acre single family homes. 

“We expected to be living in suburbia, instead we are told to accept a certain lifestyle — I’m not going to accept that,” he said. “These condos will negatively affect property values. Protect the citizens of Fort Salonga, not the builder. This must be rejected.”

“We expected to be living in suburbia.”

—Tony Izzo

The Preserve at Indian Hills would be a 55-and-over clustered housing development. In addition to the 98 town houses, the project also would include a new fitness center with an expanded clubhouse alongside the existing golf course.  

William Berg of the Crab Meadow Watershed Advisory Committee brought up concerns about the impact the development could have on the watershed quality and surrounding wetlands. 

“This study [the Crab Meadow Watershed plan] has not been completed or adopted by the Town Board,” he said. “Under land use the report states that the watershed is built out of its own density. I urge the Planning Board to call for the completion of the Crab Meadow Watershed study and thorough analysis of the information before making any conclusions on the project.”

Similarly, the Fort Salonga Property Owners Association asked town officials to place a moratorium on new developments in the Crab Meadow Watershed area, which includes the Indian Hills property. While most of the speakers opposed the development, a few residents were in favor of the project. William Muller, who is a member of the Indian Hills Country Club, said he was supportive of the Northwind project and pointed to the need for more senior living.  

“I have the belief that this plan will have less of an impact to the local community than the single-family alternative,” he said. “There is always a need for the 55-and-older community and this would provide a wonderful setting for that population.”

Other supporters mentioned the tax revenue school districts would be poised to receive from potential development and said the golf course and condos should be considered assets for the community.   

Barbara Duffy of Northport, had similar sentiments, stating she was supportive of the building of town houses. 

“Having lived near the 17th fairway for 40 years, I find it very exciting to see the possibility of protecting the golf course and making good use of the available open space,” she said. “As you all know condominiums are a dire need for the 55-and-over community.”

John Hayes, president of the Fort Salonga Property Owners Association, said in an interview that he thought the hearing went well and hopes the Planning Board will listen to their concerns. 

“This development has been overwhelmingly opposed by residents,” Hayes said. “We continue to challenge them on the density issues … being too close to residents homes. There are still problematic environmental issues that were not really tackled by the developers [in the study].”

The town will be accepting public comments through Oct. 18 either online or letters can be mailed to Huntington Town Hall, Department of Planning & Environment (Room 212), 100 Main St., Huntington, NY 11743.

Following public comments, the next steps for the development would be a final environmental impact statement and a possible preliminary subdivision hearing that has yet to be scheduled. 

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The Town of Huntington is accepting applications for an affordable housing lottery. The deadline is October 13.

 Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci (R) is excited to announce that the Town of Huntington’s Community Development Agency is now accepting applications online, for nine two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouses eligible for an affordable housing lottery in Kensington Estates, the luxury gated 55 and older community located on Jericho Turnpike across from Oheka Castle in West Hills.

 The Town of Huntington, in cooperation with the Huntington Community Development Agency and Triangle Equities, encourages all eligible individuals and families who meet the age, income and asset guidelines to enter the lottery for the opportunity to purchase one of the affordable townhouses currently available for sale. Applicants must be able to qualify for a mortgage.

 “We wish to thank Triangle Equities for bringing dream home living to the Town of Huntington, adding to its already unparalleled landscape,” said Leah M. Jefferson, agency director. 

 Applications will be accepted through Sunday, Oct. 13, and lottery selection will be held in Room 114 at Huntington Town Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m.

 This development is restricted to people who are 55 years of age or older. Applicants must meet the age requirement at the time of the lottery application. In instances where a married couple or domestic partners that are registered are applying, only one owner must be 55 years of age or older. The owner(s) must occupy the home as his or her main domicile.

 Priority will be given to applicants who are town residents or who are employed by a business or entity that maintains a verifiable physical location within the town, or nonresidents who have parents, children, grandchildren or grandparents who are town residents. 

 The nine affordable homes at Kensington Estates consist of five two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouses priced at $248,000 (80% AMI Maximum Income-eligible) and four two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouses priced at $372,000 (120% AMI Maximum Income-eligible):

• The Belmont, a two-bed, two-bath first-floor unit with a 1,045 sq. ft. living area, an 188 sq. ft. covered porch, a one-car garage and a 47 sq. ft. shared covered entry porch is priced at $248,000.

 • The Delmar, a two-bed, two-bath firstfloor unit with a 1,095 sq. ft. living area, a 70 sq. ft. covered patio, a one-car garage and a 47 sq. ft. shared covered entry porch is priced at $372,000.

•The Beverly, a two-bed, two-bath second-floor unit with a 1,665 sq. ft. living area, two balconies totaling 117 sq. ft. balcony space, a one-car garage, and a 47 sq. ft. shared covered entry porch is priced at $372,000.

 *The estimated annual real estate taxes are $6,600 for homes priced at $248,000 and $9,900 for the homes priced at $372,000. Estimated Monthly HOA Fees are between $379 and $599 depending on the unit. 

*The developer has an application pending to change the tax classification from townhouses to condominiums, which if approved, will result in a substantial decrease in the taxes. In the event that you submit an application for the lottery and the application to change the classification is denied, the lottery entry fee is nonrefundable, but you will be under no obligation to move forward to contract with the developer to purchase a unit if we reach your lottery number and you meet the criteria to purchase.

A nonrefundable application processing fee of $26.50 must be paid online with submission of the application. All applications must be submitted online.

Eligible applicants will appear in list form on Oct. 17 at http://www.huntingtonny.gov/kensingtonestates. 

The townhouses are expected to be move-in ready by spring 2020.

Questions regarding application guidelines can be directed to the Huntington Community Development Agency at 631-351-2884.

 

Cow Harbor Day is an annual, weekend-long festival that celebrates the history of the Village of Northport, which was once known as Great Cow Harbor. This year, the village turns 125 years old. As the legend goes, Great Cow Harbor got its name because many cows once grazed the fields along the water’s edge. The only bovines in sight the weekend of Sept. 21 were costumed residents and festival-goers.

The tradition coincides with the end of summer and typically attracts tens of thousands of people. This year’s glorious weather, if a little warm, seemed apropos for a farewell to the season. The events included a nationally ranked 10K run, a 2K fun run, a parade with marching bands and fire trucks, carnival rides, sidewalk sales, street vendors, live concerts in the bandstand and more. After Saturday’s race, the harbor glowed at dusk and into the evening with boats illuminated and decorated for the festival.  

By Heidi Sutton

The U.S. Postal Service celebrated the 32nd honoree in the Literary Arts stamp series, Walt Whitman (1819-1892), with a first day of issue stamp dedication and unveiling ceremony on Sept. 12.

The event was held at a most fitting venue, The Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site’s Interpretive Center in Huntington Station, which boasts the second largest Whitman collection in the world, only superceded by the Library of Congress. The farmhouse where Whitman was born sits on the property.

Thursday’s unveiling honored the 200th anniversary of the Long Island native’s birth.

Influenced by the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Whitman wrote over 400 poems including “Song of Myself,” “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and his 1855 masterpiece “Leaves of Grass.” 

In addition to avid stamp collectors, the event was attended by many elected officials including Assemblyman Andrew Raia, Sen. James Gaughran, Legislator Susan Berland, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Legislator Tom Donnelly, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson along with Executive Director of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum Lance Reinheimer, Huntington historian Robert C. Hughes, Executive Director of Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park Vincent A. Simeone, Deputy Regional Director of NYS Parks Brian X. Foley, Regional Director of NYS Parks George “Chip” Gorman and many employees of the U.S. Postal Service.

Michael Gargiulo, WNBC co-anchor of “Today in New York” served as master of ceremonies. “I’m a huge history fan, I’m a huge stamp fan and I’m thrilled to be here,” he said before introducing Cynthia L. Shor, executive director of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association; Jeffrey S. Gould, who sits on the board of trustees of the association; and Erik Kulleseid, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for welcoming remarks.

The official stamp dedication was led by Cara M. Greene, vice president and controller of the U.S. Postal Service, and Walt Whitman personator Darrel Blaine Ford treated the audience to a soul-stirring reading of “Song of the Open Road.”

“Walt Whitman’s message of equality, tolerance, and the idea that we are all of the natural world, not separate from it, drew international acclaim in the 19th century and rings just as true today,” said Kulleseid, who thanked Shor and the board of directors “for all you’ve done since the 1950s to preserve this site and to educate visitors about Whitman’s vision of what it truly means to be an American.”

“[Whitman] is considered by many as the father of modern American poetry. The key word here is modern because of the topics and themes he explored — freedom, human dignity and democracy — and his stylistic innovations that at times mimicked ordinary speech and the long cadences of biblical poetry. His work continues to resonate with us today,” said Greene before unveiling the 85-cent commemorative stamp, which is intended for domestic First-Class Mail weighing up to 3 ounces.

Designed by Greg Breeding, the stamp features a portrait of Whitman painted by Brooklyn artist Sam Weber based on a photograph of the poet taken by Frank Pearsall in 1869. It depicts Whitman in his 50s, with long white hair and a beard gazing out with his chin resting in his left hand. The light purple background with a hermit thrush siting on the branch of a lilac tree recalls “When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d,” an elegy for President Abraham Lincoln written by Whitman soon after Lincoln‘s assassination on April 14, 1865. It appeared in the second edition of “Drum Taps,” a collection of poems mostly written during the Civil War.

“Why do we honor Walt Whitman? He has had a tremendous influence on poetry, he relaxed the poetic line, dispensing with rhyme and meter and opening the way to what we call ‘free verse.’ He was really the great poet of American democracy — his poems embraced people of all religions and races and social classes,” at a time of great nativism, said David S. Reynolds, author of “Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography.”

Although he witnessed much suffering during the Civil War and endured several strokes, Reynolds said Whitman “never surrendered his optimism … His poetry radiates this joyful spirit. It brims with his love of the beauty and miracles of everyday life … and lifts our spirits.”

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Aerial view of Indian Hills Golf Course, where developers want to build 98 townhouses.

A proposed development at Indian Hills Golf Course in Fort Salonga is once again drawing criticism and the ire of a community. A public hearing scheduled for Sept. 18 will open discussions on the environmental impact statement for the construction of 98 town houses. 

In August of 2018, the Town of Huntington’s planning board issued a positive declaration to the developers, Hauppauge-based Northwind Group. The environmental impact statement review is the next step of the approval process. 

The upcoming presentation will focus on how potential development would impact water quality of local watersheds, the area’s steep slopes, coastal erosion zones, traffic and other issues.

John Hayes, president of the Fort Salonga Property Owners Association, said the proposed development is massive and will negatively impact local roadways and surrounding wetlands, among other things. 

“We’ve been opposed to the development, it’s not something the community wants,” he said.

The project, dubbed the Preserve at Indian Hills, is a 55-and-over clustered housing development. In addition to the 98 town houses, the project also includes a new fitness center with an expanded clubhouse alongside the existing golf course.  

Previously, the association asked town officials to place a moratorium on new developments in the Crab Meadow Watershed area, which includes Indian Hills. It came after town officials released a draft of the Crab Meadow Watershed Plan, done by GEI Consultants. 

The study’s goal was developing a community-driven stewardship plan that highlights best practices in the future management of the watershed area, according to a March 2018 TBR News Media article. It also focused on evaluating the environmental conditions of the land around the Jerome A. Ambro Memorial Wetland Preserve in Fort Salonga.

“The study showed that the watershed area is built out to its zoned density, we believe there shouldn’t be close to 100 homes built there,” Hayes said. 

The proposed development has been a decisive topic in the Huntington community for close to three years. Over the years, the developers have tried to change zoning for the property from 1-acre single family to open space cluster district, in the hopes of building homes on the property. They also changed the initial plans from building 108 units to 98. 

“We expect public comment on our application which is permitted within our current zoning,”   Jim Tsunis, managing member of The Northwind Group said in a statement. “Our professionals will address all concerns during the hearing on Sept. 18 and the extended public comment period.”

The president of the association said they remain skeptical of the development and plan to attend the upcoming planning board hearing. 

“We will be there to challenge their findings and we’ll counter their points,” Hayes said. 

Residents can review the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the town’s website under the Planning and Environment Department page: www.huntingtonny.gov/indian-hills-deis-july2019. 

After the public hearing, the town will be accepting public comments through Oct. 18 either online or letters can be mailed to: Huntington Town Hall, Department of Planning & Environment (Room 212), 100 Main St., Huntington, NY 11743.

Following public comments, the next steps for the development would be a final environmental impact statement and a possible preliminary subdivision hearing.

Lupinacci and Sorrentino discuss vandal issue at Sunshine Acres.

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) denounced the painted anti-Semitic graffiti vandals left at Sunshine Acres Park on Townline Road in Commack over the holiday weekend and urged residents to report suspicious activity and instances of hate to the Town.

 “The swastika is a symbol meant to threaten and intimidate and this demonstration of hate will not be tolerated in the Town of Huntington,” said Lupinacci, who visited the park on Monday, Sept. 2 to be briefed by Director of General Services Andre Sorrentino, whose staff temporarily painted over the graffiti with green paint on a paved path over the Labor Day holiday weekend until they would be able to permanently seal coat the area.

 They were joined by Public Safety security guard Dan Froehlich, who was patrolling the trail in the park and informed the supervisor that he has personally broken up groups of young people loitering in the park.

“Our Department of Public Safety is ramping up foot patrols at the park and I urge our residents to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity in our parks to the Department of Public Safety and suspected instances of hate to the town’s Anti-Bias Task Force,” said Lupinacci.

The Department of Public Safety reported the hate crime to the Suffolk County Police Department, which is standard protocol. Suspicious or illegal activity in town parks can be reported to the Department of Public Safety to investigate at www.huntingtonny.gov/public-safety or the 24-hour emergency hotline, 631-351-3234.

The Security Division of the Department of Public Safety is responsible for the daily patrol of 77 town facilities, consisting of buildings, properties, beaches and parks, as well as railroad stations and surrounding parking facilities located within the town. The town’s Park Rangers are New York State Certified Peace Officers tasked with keeping the general public order and protecting town parks, beaches and other facilities.

Residents can report instances of hate or bias to the town’s Anti-Bias Task Force through their Department of Human Services liaison, Director Carmen Kasper at humanservices@huntingtonny.gov or at 631-351-3304.

File Photo

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) with the support of the Republican Caucus has requested a Certificate of Necessity (CN) from County Executive Steve Bellone (D) to reauthorize the red-light camera program in Suffolk County through a mandated referendum. 

“Let the public decide if this program is saving lives or costing the taxpayers their hard earned dollars,” said Trotta.

His fellow Republicans echoed this sentiment.

According to Trotta, a $250,000 study, prepared by L. K. McLean Associates, did not provide the data that the Suffolk County Legislature was seeking to thoroughly determine if the red-light camera program should be extended for another five years. In addition, the report noted that accidents increased 60 percent at red-light camera locations, yet the consultants argued that the program should continue. 

Republican legislators Tom Climi (R-Bay Shore), Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset), Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma), Steven Flotteron (R-Bay Shore) and Rudy Sunderman (R-Mastic Beach) support Trotta’s resolution to have a mandated referendum on the November ballot.

“This bill is a yes or no to sign the contract for renewal of the red-light cameras,” said Kennedy. “We have been told that we can work on issues once the contract is signed. We all know that all issues are defined upon contract signature, just look at the roughly 15 million we had to pay out when our County Executive decided to breach the signed contract at Ronkonkoma Rail Road Station for solar panels.”

The GOP Caucus leader Tom Climi has said that his seven-member caucus will vote unanimously to end the program. 

“The results speak for themselves: more than a thousand additional crashes at red-light camera intersections involving thousands of drivers, all put at risk of injury or worse, all subjected to vehicle repair costs and increased insurance rates, with no reduction in fatalities at these intersections,” Climi said. “Rather than taking photos and video at these intersections, pretending to make them safer, we should engineer these intersections to actually BE safer.” 

Trotta had encouraged the public to speak at the Sept. 4 meeting of the full Legislature  and to speak in support of his referendum. The meeting, which was held at the Williams Rogers Building, Legislative Auditorium, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge, began at 9:30 a.m. and by 3:30 p.m. the issue had not yet come up for debate and residents were still waiting to speak for their allotted three minutes during the public portion. 

Trotta has encouraged anyone with questions to call him at 631-854-3900.

Democrat leaders were unavailable for comment before going to press. Bellone’s office did not respond to questions about the program.

The results of the Sept. 4 meeting were unavailable before press time.  By early evening, county legislators ultimately voted along party lines in a 11-7 vote to extend for five more years the red-light camera program.