Tags Posts tagged with "Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich"

Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich

Workers install a water quality unit at East Setauket Pond Park. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Residents passing by East Setauket Pond Park have noticed the area has been fenced off recently.

At the March Three Village Civic Association meeting, Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) updated members on the work being done on the pond. Two water quality units are being installed to capture road runoff, such as sediment and floatables, from Route 25A and interconnected town roads before the debris goes into Setauket Harbor.

In an email, Veronica King, Brookhaven’s stormwater manager, said the project is expected to take approximately two months.

The current and past work at the park has been a result of a $1 million clean water grant for the Town of Brookhaven that former state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) secured in 2016.

George Hoffman, one of the founders of Setauket Harbor Task Force, said in a phone interview that he was pleased that the units would be finally installed.

“It’s critical to improving water quality in Setauket Harbor,” he said. “The harbor is struggling. We haven’t been able to clam there for 22 years. It’s unsafe to take clams from that harbor, and that’s based on bacteria in the area and a lot of the bacteria comes in through the stormwater.”

He added the filtering of road runoff would also lessen how often the pond has to be dredged.

At the civic meeting, Kornreich also told the attendees that the town recently purchased the property where East Setauket Automotive stands today with the hopes of building a larger park in the future. In a phone interview, Kornreich said the auto and truck repair shop will remain until 2025, and he said the town plans to be sensitive to the needs of businesses surrounding the park. 

Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright and county Legislator Kara Hahn unveil the new sign. Photo by Robert Pellegrino

A sign featuring photos and a historical narrative now marks the spot of a local landmark.

Three Village Community Trust members celebrate the unveiling of the new sign at Patriots Rock. Phot by Rita J. Egan

Elected officials, members of the Three Village Historical Society and a handful of residents joined the Three Village Community Trust in the unveiling of its new interpretive sign at Patriots Rock. The trust has been working to install signs at its properties throughout the Three Village area.

The 18-inch-by-24-inch sign at Patriots Rock, across from the Setauket Post Office on Main Street, sits atop a small metal pedestal and provides information about the area’s local importance, including the spot being a Native American meeting place and the grounds of the Battle of Setauket. During the Revolutionary War, American Patriots used the rock as a base to launch an attack against British soldiers occupying Setauket Presbyterian Church.

Signs also are situated at the Smith/de Zafra House, Brookhaven’s original town hall, and the Factory Worker Houses. TVCT began the project a few years ago, and the trust’s president, Herb Mones, said the project was based on three ideas.

“One was our hope to educate and inform residents about the history, the architecture, the economy and the culture that existed in our ever-evolving community,” he said.

The president added the hope was also to show how unique the area was, and the signs demonstrated TVCT was an active organization.

At the unveiling, Mones thanked those who worked on the project, including Robert Reuter, Greg de Bruin, Norma Watson, Paul D’Amico, Peter Legakis and Gretchen Oldrin Mones. He added Three Village Historical Society historian Beverly C. Tyler and Town of Brookhaven historian Barbara Russell assisted in verifying the information, and Tammy Burkle of Studio 631 finalized the design of the plaques.

A county cultural grant obtained by Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) and a matching-challenge state grant from Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) funded the project, according to Mones. He added Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) provided guidance during the process. All three were on hand for the unveiling.

Mones said the property once belonged to Tyler’s family, and when TVCT acquired the property the trust was able to do so with a grant through Englebright’s office.

Community members joined the Three Village Community Trust in the unveiling of a new sign at Patriots Rock. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Hahn said she often wonders what was going through the minds of the soldiers who hid behind Patriots Rock during the Battle of Setauket.

“[That kind of history] is why this community is so special — it’s that strong sense of place tied to the birth of this great nation. Helping to remind folks of the significance of this spot, and every other spot that we were able to place signs at, is important to educate about and honor the tradition and history here.” Hahn said.

Englebright, who is a geologist, said in addition to remembering the history of the site, he said, “I can’t help but get excited about it because it’s very geological.”

He said Patriots Rock is only one or two main rocks in the community, and “this is the one with the greatest significance.”

“The first thing we had to do was save it,” Englebright said. “The next thing we have to do is what we’re doing today, which is to make sure that it’s properly interpreted, and that it is accessing the public’s excitement about our history because the history of our community helps you find a sense of place — and our sense of place is integral to our quality of life and a sense of community pride.”

Image of proposed development, right, from the Planning Board’s webpage.

By Jonathan Kornreich

Numerous residents and organizations within my council district have expressed concerns to my office regarding the Winmar Homes application to develop the southeast corner of Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket. The current proposal is for an eight-lot residential subdivision on 6.63 acres, along with a recharge basin and the construction of a cul-de-sac into the development from Upper Sheep Pasture Road.

Setauket is one of the oldest areas in the Town of Brookhaven with historic sites from the American Revolutionary War time period and older. Directly across the street from the Selleck property is the Merritt-Hawkins House — at 512 Pond Path, East Setauket — a town-owned property and one of the earliest homes in Setauket, originally belonging to the Hawkins family. The property was designated a Brookhaven landmark in April 2005 and was added to the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places in August 2007. Immediately adjacent to the Merritt-Hawkins House is Nassakeag Elementary School. The Selleck property is one of the oldest farms in the area and, together with Merritt-Hawkins House, formed the Merritt-Hawkins Homestead, a significant part of our local history. 

The community and my office have made several requests relating to this property, including an appeal to save the old Selleck farmhouse or clustering the houses to make room for open space preservation. The most urgent of these requests, however, and the one which has spurred the greatest alarm within the community, is the proposed siting of a recharge basin, or sump, on the highly visible corner of Upper Sheep Pasture Road and Pond Path.

Historically, the creation of sumps like this has been a common approach, resulting in over 1,300 sumps throughout the Town of Brookhaven. In addition to being a maintenance burden on the Highway Department and a consistent source of complaints from residents, these recharge basins do little to remediate the water being funneled back into our aquifers, especially with respect to the removal of nitrogen and other substances.

Other solutions to stormwater management are available. The practice of Low Impact Development incorporates an “all of the above” strategy which includes rain gardens, bioswales, permeable surfaces and dry wells, elements which are meant to recreate and enhance natural processes. By reducing the movement of water across paved surfaces, these elements assist in the prevention and capture of surface contaminants before they flow back into a sump, whose sole function is to get water back underground as quickly as possible.

Clearly, practices such as LID require a nuanced approach which is sensitive to each site’s specific topography, soil composition and other factors. I will continue to advocate for the adoption of this more thoughtful approach, both on the Selleck site and as a part of the town’s planning process going forward.

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine [R] has been highly supportive of this approach and has facilitated discussions with professionals in Town Hall to explore other options. There is no question that a sump is only one of several modalities for managing stormwater runoff, and we are hoping that more time is set aside to study this issue and develop a strategy that all stakeholders will be comfortable with. 

The town Planning Board is an independent body, and members of the Town Council cannot exert undue influence over their deliberations, but I cannot remain silent while the wishes of the community I represent are overlooked. My hope is that the developer and the Planning Board will come together to create a site plan which is mutually acceptable to all stakeholders, including the residents.

Jonathan Kornreich [D] is town councilmember for Brookhaven’s District 1 and has experience in the home construction industry.

State and local elected officials joined Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine at the Stony Brook Train Station June 7. Photo by Rita J. Egan

During the late morning hours of June 7, people gathered at the Stony Brook train station but not to board a train. They were there to call out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road for not getting on board with modernizing the Port Jefferson Branch line.

Steve Englebright at podium. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) asked state and local officials to join him at a press conference at the station to urge the MTA and the LIRR to extend electrification on the Port Jefferson Branch. In addition to the elected officials in attendance, civic, chamber, business and environmental leaders were also on hand to show their support.

Many in attendance have vocalized the need for years, including during a December 2019 press conference at the train station. However, plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

East of Huntington the 24 miles or so of railroad tracks are not electrified, and the LIRR uses dual-mode trains that can switch from electric to diesel.

Those in attendance addressed concerns such as air pollution from the diesel trains and traffic congestion from residents driving south to take trains on the Ronkonkoma Branch. They also said electrification would benefit the area, including efficient experiences for passengers, more business drawn to the area, increased enrollment at Stony Brook University and real estate values increasing. 

Romaine said the Port Jeff Branch was the busiest line of the LIRR. He called diesel fuel “some of the most polluting fuel that we have.” He added that Suffolk County and Brookhaven “have been shortchanged by the MTA.”

He said that with the passage of President Joe Biden’s (D) $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill and more than $10 billion estimated to go to the MTA, it was time for Suffolk County residents to see improvements on the railroad

“That is supposed to help rebuild our infrastructure,” the supervisor said. “We’re asking for a 20th-century technology — electrification. Diesel is a 19th-century technology. We haven’t even asked for 21st-century technology.”

State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) also called for infrastructure money to be spent in the area. Regarding North Shore residents traveling to stations along the Ronkonkoma Branch, he said everyone needed to come together to ensure that those in the area could drive to a nearby station without changing trains to get to New York City. He added with a feasibility study that was started in the 1980s, the time had come for change.

“We need to make sure that we’re here for the commuters,” Mattera said. “Mass transit is so important for our future, and MTA shortchanges us all the time.”

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) said when the Climate Leadership and Community Protection legislation was passed on the state level in 2019, it included the call for electrification across all sectors — transportation, residential, commercial and more. He said the same year the legislation passed, the MTA purchased 55 diesel engines.

“Maybe they haven’t figured it out yet but diesels are, as the supervisor indicated, antique technology, and we need to move toward technology that doesn’t pollute the air,” Englebright said.

State Sen. Mario Mattera. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) said that the diesel engines not only are harmful to air quality, but also when they arrive at a station the vibration can be felt in nearby neighborhoods. Kornreich said there are people in Port Jefferson Station who “have to listen to the sound of diesel throbbing all night.”

Mitch Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute and a former MTA board member, called on the state Climate Action Council to mandate the MTA to have responsibility in electrifying train lines across Long Island.

“Only in that way will the mass transit system that we have not only transport our people, but do it in an environmentally sensitive manner,” Pally said.

Anthony Figliola, who is running in the Republican primary for Congressional District 1, said after the press conference he was encouraged by the bipartisan support. He added that Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) is also supportive of electrification.

Figliola and Charlie Lefkowitz, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, were part of the North Shore Business Alliance formed in 2017 that worked on a feasibility study for electrification of the branch.  The MTA included $4 million in their five-year 2015-19 capital plan to pay for a feasibility study on electrification of the Port Jefferson Branch

Figliola said if elected to Congress he will be committed “to helping fund this critical economic development and environmental project.”

“The next step is for the MTA to complete the study,” he said. “My hope is the MTA will think twice before spending any additional dollars on more diesel trains.”

Pixabay photo

Save the date! The Meadow Club, 1147 Route 112, Port Jefferson Station will be hosting the 7th Annual United Nations Day of Yoga on June 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is open to all and will include a variety of yoga classes for all ages and levels, meditation sessions, vendors and more. 

This event is being sponsored by Indu Kaur, Director of The Meadow Club; Jas Singh, founder of ReflectandRespond; Sharmila Nigam, founder of One Love Generation; and Marcy Guzman of The Healing Center at Port Jeff Salt Cave, along with 14 holistic teachers and volunteers.  

Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, Director of the Staller Center Alan Inkles, and President of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Dzvonar, to name a few, will be in attendance for the candle lighting ceremony to start the morning program. 

A vision of Indu Kaur, owner of The Meadow Club, the event is intended to promote harmony, world peace, health and wellness through the various practices of yoga and holistic modalities.

Event speakers include Dr. N who is Board certified Doctor of Integrative Medicine, Alternative Medicine and Doctor of Humanitarian services with PhD graduated from International Quantum University of Integrative Medicine; and Meditation teacher Bhante Kottave Nanda from Long Island Meditation Center. 

Attendees will be able to learn and practice various forms of yoga such as Hatha, Chair, Kundalini, Restorative, Vinyasa, Yin, Yoga Nidra and more from local instructors of Yoga, Pranayama breathing, Ayurveda, Holistic health lifestyle, meditation, Reiki, financial wellbeing and more.

In addition, a delicious vegan vegetarian buffet will be available for a nominal fee along with raffle of baskets valued at $200+ to support this fully volunteered sponsored event and raise awareness of peace with yoga, love, and light. Bring your own yoga mats or mats will be available for purchase.

The event is FREE and open to the public. RSVP requested by calling 631-828-4818.