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beach street community garden

Graphic from the Port Jeff village website

The Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees covered a range of issues during a business meeting Monday, Sept. 19.

With trustees Stan Loucks and Lauren Sheprow absent, the board approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract to purchase the historic derelict home at 49 Sheep Pasture Road. 

With this authorization, Mayor Margot Garant announced the village was moving closer to acquiring that property and presented plans once an agreement is met.

“We will be finally securing that property,” the mayor said. “Once we secure it, I’m going to bring the historical society to the table and the preservation company.” [For more information on this property, see The Port Times Record’s 2019 story at TBR News Media’s website: “Port Jeff historians decry potential loss of historic house.”]

Garant also reported the village is pursuing a granting opportunity to subsidize the development of the Six Acre Park along Highlands Boulevard. The grant application process sets certain conditions requiring an applicant to present a concept plan along with other criteria. 

“That grant will provide funding for the final buildout in terms of plans and material and construction,” Garant said. Trustee Rebecca Kassay, trustee liaison to the Six Acre Park Committee, added that this “could be an enormous amount of money.” 

To satisfy the conditions of the grant application, the board approved a proposal from Hauppauge-based consultancy firm VHB Engineers for $22,750.

The board also voted to reinstate the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council. Based on guidelines from the village code, this advisory council can make recommendations to the board of trustees related to recreational programs, leisure and cultural activities, and parks and playgrounds. 

Garant appointed Beth Capodanno, Gerard Gang, Robert Gross, Jennifer Hildreth, Kelly Juliano, Lois Kilkenny and Rima Potter to serve on this reconstituted council. The mayor appointed as alternates Mary O’Sullivan, Thomas Provencher and Dana Eng.

Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden discussed her ongoing work to stabilize the feral cat population villagewide. Coordinating with Jaegers Run Animal Rescue, Snaden requested the board allocate funds for sterilization services and rabies vaccinations to 100 cats per year.

Responding to Snaden’s request, Garant said, “Let’s see if we can appropriate $3,000. It’s a good cause. Lisa [Jaeger]’s a good person, helping in so many ways with all sorts of creatures.”

Snaden additionally reported on an ongoing difference of opinion between the Board of Trustees and the Planning Board regarding active-use space in the Six Acre Park. 

Though some members favored an active-use provision at the Six Acre Park, the Planning Board could not reach a consensus on a formal recommendation, according to Snaden. Garant countered these claims by saying, “I think there are tons of recreational opportunities in this village.”

Kassay reported the Beach Street Community Garden program would take place Monday, Sept. 26, from 6-7 p.m.. This program is free to the public and will focus on fall harvesting. 

Kassay also discussed her continuing work to investigate tick disease awareness and prevention. According to her, the village has been offered tick removal kits through a Stony Brook University-affiliated disease research center. These kits will most likely be made available at the Village Center. [For more on the issue of ticks in Port Jefferson, see The Port Times Record’s July 21 story, “Tick-borne diseases likely to worsen amid warming temperatures.”]

Kassay concluded her remarks by offering to deliver a presentation to the board on a potential revision in the village code for short-term rental properties. This presentation could come as early as mid-October. 

Neither Loucks nor Sheprow delivered a report by proxy.

File photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media
By Aidan Johnson

The Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees held its monthly meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6, to discuss current plans and issues throughout the village.

The meeting started with a reminder from code enforcement chief Fred Leute to drive carefully down the streets. Now that school is back in session, more wet weather and leaves will likely be on the ground.

Trustee Rebecca Kassay announced that she and Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden have been working together to make the village more walkable and bikeable. These efforts will make it easier to travel around Port Jefferson without using a vehicle.

Kassay also shared that she and Snaden have worked to replace dead street trees this fall with more aesthetically pleasing and ecologically friendly ones.

Kassay said they have been meeting to discuss issues regarding uptown parking. “We’ve been looking at hopefully partnering with some of the medical office space uptown so that we don’t have to pave any additional space uptown — and take it from there,” she said.

After concerns were brought up to the trustees about ticks a few months ago, Kassay has been discussing the issue with the Stony Brook University disease center. The village will be putting information on its website and working with local media to spread awareness about the issue, as well as reaching out to schools to see if they can give the items to nurses and coaches. The village has also been offered tick handbooks, tick identification cards and tick removal kits.

Next meeting, Kassay intends to discuss the timeline and action plan for the village to work on flood mitigation.

Kassay also announced that the Beach Street Community Garden program scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 7, has been rescheduled due to inclement weather. The new date is to be determined.

Trustee Stan Loucks announced that the drought Long Island has faced has started to impact the golf course, which has had 300,000 gallons of water put into it every night. 

“Our conditions up there have gotten to the point where some of the fairways were turning brown, so this rain we’re getting today is kind of a godsend,” Loucks said. He added, “All of our water comes out of on-site wells. The wells up at the country club have reached the level where we’ve been put on restricted watering. We’ve only been able to water our greens and tee boxes for the last 10 days or so, so this rain is coming at a perfect time.”

The golf course will be closed this week on Thursday and possibly Friday while the aeration process takes place.

The country club’s early bird program starts on Saturday, Oct. 15. However, the membership rate fees are to be determined.

Loucks also asked that nobody walks down to East Beach, due to the Bluff Stabilization project. Still, he assured everyone that considerable progress had been made already. Snaden would later add that drone footage of the progress is available to view, provided by Charmaine Famularo.

Tennis courts 7 and 8 are still open and will stay open through September and possibly through October.

Loucks said there are plans to build a permanent barbecue on the patio behind the scoreboard on the golf course.

Finally, Loucks shared that the annual village golf outing will be taking place on Thursday, Sept. 22. The outing is open to all village residents, along with anyone who works in the school district, is a member of the fire department or a business owner in the village. The cost of the outing is $50.

Trustee Lauren Sheprow announced the first meeting of the Recreation and Parks Committee would take place on Thursday, Sept. 29.

The next meeting of the Country Club Social/Hospitality Task Force will take place Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Port Jefferson Country Club at 6:30 p.m.

Concluding her report, Sheprow shared that the village’s internal communication audit is still underway. She looks forward to meeting with the other trustees individually to discuss it.

Snaden reported that the Port Jefferson high school homecoming game has been moved to Saturday, Oct. 22, due to an issue regarding the number of football players on the team. The parade will now take place on Oct. 21 at night. Instead of floats, the students plan to decorate their vehicles with lights. Due to scheduling conflicts, there will not be the Caroline Field events that have been held in the past, but Snaden hopes to bring them back next year.

Snaden went on to report that code union negotiations are continuing. Also, the Architectural Review Committee is looking into an application for a new “Sea Creations” sign to be put on the front of the Harbor Square Mall on Main Street. Additionally, St. Charles Hospital wants to build a retaining wall in its parking lot for expansion. 

Mayor Margot Garant reported that the trustees, with members of the planning and zoning boards, attended a walkthrough of the Port Jefferson Crossing Apartments at 1615 Main St., and were very happy with the amenities that they saw. There is also a 3,000-square-foot retail space. 

Station Street is expected to be installed sometime in mid-September. Overall, Garant is happy with the direction Upper Port is taking.

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Applications for the community garden raised bed lottery are available now until Jan. 31. Photo from Rebecca Kassy

After a successful first year, the Beach Street Community Garden in Port Jefferson is gearing up for its 2022 season. 

Trustee Rebecca Kassay, who spearheaded the concept last year, said that applications are currently open through Jan. 31 to obtain a raised bed at the plot.

“The raised garden boxes at the Beach Street Community Garden are ideal for first-time gardeners and seasoned gardeners alike,” she said in a statement. “The garden regularly hosts educational programming. Community gardens are a great way to grow food, meet your neighbors, and connect with the land.”

Claire Gearns, age 10, is one of those first-time gardeners who has taken advantage of the community garden with her father, Rich.

“It’s fun to do and it’s a new hobby for me and if you didn’t get to try it, you should definitely try it out,” she said. 

“As new gardeners we had so much fun growing our own vegetables and can’t wait to get our fingers in the soil again,” Rich added.

Right now, there are 20 raised beds available for rent and will be processed through a lottery. Community members who were the first group in the 2021 garden said that it was a great experience that brought everyone together.

Photo from Rebecca Kassay

“The highlight of this past year for me was participating in the Beach Street Community Garden,” said Isobel Breheny. “My family and I grew so many fresh vegetables that we were able to share some with others. I made new friends and had so much fun! It was relaxing and a great stress reliever to tend the vegetables each week. And in addition, I went to workshops to learn how to grow better vegetables for next year.”

Shannon Handley added that she, her husband and their two children also took a plot this past summer.

“We were able to walk with our dog to our plot every morning to check on and harvest our zucchini and cucamelon,” she said. “It was an amazing experience and helped us to foster a love of vegetables, gardening, and community in our kids. We are so excited for the 2022 season!”

The garden, located in a previously vacant lot that was once a playground, became a sustainable haven in 2021 when nearly two-dozen volunteers cleared the space out and assembled 24 raised beds to plant all different types of fruits, veggies and herbs.

“I live in a condominium community and really don’t have the space for a garden,” said Gwen Gnadt. “This gave me the option for a garden. I was able to plant so many things and had quite an abundant crop.”

Christine O’Reilly added that the community garden was and is a great way to learn from others.

“There were varying levels of expertise amongst the gardeners, so there was a great opportunity for information and vegetable sharing,” she said. 

For those who are interested in applying for this year’s raised bed lottery, they can visit portjeff.com/communitygarden, download and complete the lottery form, and mail or drop off the completed form to Port Jefferson Village Hall by Jan. 31.

Raised bed lottery winners will be notified via email by Feb. 15.

Individual or family use raised beds are available for rent for $40 per bed for residents or $75 per bed for non-residents annually with four communal herb/flower beds for registered gardeners. All beds have timed drip irrigation and are surrounded by deer fencing. 

Four of the raised beds have higher sides for gardeners with different abilities.