A brighter future for brownfields

A brighter future for brownfields

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Suffolk County put out a request for proposals to help redefine what the former Steck-Philbin Landfill brownfield site on Old Northport Road in Kings Park could look like, and this week a Stony Brook group has proposed to build a solar farm there.

We were excited to read some of the details behind the Ecological Engineering of Long Island plan, which the firm’s president Shawn Nuzzo said would deliver significant amounts of solar electricity to Long Island’s power grid without decimating anymore of the area’s land.

This is the kind of development we hope our fellow Long Islanders can get behind.

The solar farm proposal is an example of what can be done with Long Island’s most problematic properties. All we need is for residents and politicians to give it a chance.

Oftentimes we encounter widespread resident opposition across our North Shore communities to development proposals of any sort for various reasons. But by giving projects like this a thorough look, coupled with an open mind, we believe we can address some of the biggest environmental issues facing the Island.

In this case, for example, transforming an industrial area into something that could benefit us all seems almost like a no-brainer. The former landfill site in Kings Park is no doubt an eyesore and a horrific blight on the greater North Shore community, so why not see it transformed by a legal and reputable business? EELI wants to come in and build a 6-megawatt solar farm through crowdfunding dollars, so let’s support the firm.

This quote from Nuzzo, also the president of the Three Village Civic Association, said it all: “Unlike other recent utility solar projects on Long Island — where large developers have proposed to clear-cut forests, raze golf courses and blanket farmable lands — our proposal takes a dangerous, long-blighted and otherwise useless parcel and revives it as a community-owned solar farm,” he said.

We say reputable, by the way, because of the several letters of support Nuzzo and his team received from some of the North Shore’s staunchest environmental advocates, including state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station).

This property is a perfect example of what we could do with so many more of our neglected areas across the North Shore. The landfill is not situated directly next door to someone’s house, so the “not in my backyard” argument holds a little less weight. It’s time we think smart when it comes to repurposing our landscape.