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Councilwoman Valerie Cartright

The Heatherwood golf course in Terryville has sat vacant since it was closed earlier this year and the green has become overgrown. The site is still slated for around 200 new 55-and-older condiminiums. Photo by Kyle Barr

A picture of a sign reading “What Should We Build” standing next to the now-closed golf course on Nesconset Highway in Terryville gained a few chuckles, before heads turned down in thought. Just what should be there? And who, if not the property owners, will do it?

The Heatherwood Golf Course, owned by Commack-based Heatherwood Golf and Villa, has been under strenuous controversy for the last few years as it tried in vain to build an apartment complex on the site. The site was closed this year, and the property facing the road has started to become overgrown.

The Heatherwood golf course in Terryville has sat vacant since it was closed earlier this year and the green has become overgrown. The site is still slated for around 200 new 55-and-older condiminiums. Photo by Kyle Barr

The apartment complex would have halved the number of holes at the golf course from 18 to nine on property that covers both Port Jefferson Station and Centereach. Back in 2014, the owners were granted a zoning change to the Heatherwood property to allow them to build the new condominiums for people 55 and older. Both Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) dissented. In 2018 the town planning board conditionally approved plans for the property. 

In a phone interview, Cartright said owners have three years since the planning board approved its plans, specifically Aug. 20, 2021, to finish the last four of 16 conditions of the approval, otherwise they would not be able to start construction.

In 2019, the property owner had sent two separate proposals to the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency for a payment in lieu of taxes agreement. The IDA shot down the owner’s first $7 million proposal, with some on the board citing the minimal number of jobs such a project would create. Just a few months later in November, the owner came back to the IDA with a newer, less intense $2.2 million tax break proposal. In a four to three split vote, that new PILOT proposal was rejected yet again in December.

And local civics haven’t budged from their antipathy toward any of those same PILOT agreements. Civic members from both Port Jefferson Station and Three Village have previously shared concerns about lost tax revenue for school districts as well as traffic concerns. 

Sal Pitti, the president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, said he felt the property owner was being “vindictive” in letting it become overgrown because the IDA did not acquiesce to any new tax breaks. He called owners “greedy” for trying to relinquish the one true benefit to the community the project would have, that being school taxes.

“If they did the project normally, think about all the money they would have saved back then,” Pitti said. “The guy’s pushing for what he wants and how he wants it, and that’s why he’s letting the property get so overgrown.”

Representatives of Heatherwood did not return a request for comment by press time.

Since its second IDA rejection, the owners have been largely silent about plans for the property. The Heatherwood Golf Course was officially closed this year. Weeds and grass have grown long in the absence of much or any care, and Cartright said the owners have been put on notice and are on a 14-day clock, starting from last week, before town workers move in to cut the grass. 

The grounds of the Heatherwood golf course have become overgrown. Photo by Kyle Barr

The question of who erected that cheeky sign belies the question: what is the future for the property? Suggestions on Facebook ranged from a park to a vineyard to a shooting range. 

Cartright said that as far as she knows the developer is still moving forward with their plans. As much as community members would like to see another public park, the councilwoman made it clear the town cannot simply buy up private land.

“It’s not our land — you have to have a willing seller to purchase anything as open space,” she said. “Though they still have an obligation for cleaning up their property.”

But Heatherwood has long had everything it needs to start up a new apartment complex, though it has before cited the need for those tax breaks before they can start any real development. 

Pitti said that while the owners still need to keep the property facing the street somewhat nice, it wouldn’t be so bad to see the rest of it reclaimed by nature. Better yet, he asked, why not let it return to being a golf course.

“I think the community loved it when it was a golf course,” he said. “It wasn’t like it wasn’t profitable — people went and used that golf course, even during the winter months — it was a sport people enjoyed, it was a clean well-kept property.”

Councilwoman Valerie Cartright during a town board meeting. TBR News Media file photo

A local town council member has put forward attempts to offer emergency transportation for the homeless when the county cannot, though not all parties are on the same page if the service is necessary or even wanted.

The Brookhaven Town Board meeting Nov. 19 showcased a rare public heated moment between members of the town council, specifically over a resolution to offer jitney services for the homeless when the county cannot.

Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) has for months been supporting a resolution to allow the town to enter an intermunicipal agreement with Suffolk County for the town to provide jitney services to transport homeless people to a shelter or other facility in an emergency situation. The Democratic councilwoman’s move to table the resolution resulted in a heated discussion over the timing and merits of the bill, and after advice from town attorney Annette Eaderesto, the councilwoman withdrew the resolution.

In a letter to the Town, Suffolk County Deputy Executive Jon Kaiman said that the county had “no ability” to put forward a memorandum of understanding regarding using municipal town buses for transporting the homeless.

“There would be a number of issues such as cost of personnel, operations and administration that we would need to explore before we would consider making any recommendations,” said the letter sent to Matt Miner, the town chief of operations.

Kaiman did not respond to requests to his office for additional comment.

The lone Democrat on the Town Board asked why she had not seen the letter until 18 days after the town had originally received it. 

“I’m looking at an email that was sent to Matt Miner on Nov. 1. Today is Nov. 19,” Cartright said to Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). 

In a previous interview, Cartright described an encounter with one homeless couple several months ago. After the work of convincing them to accept residence in a Suffolk County shelter, the councilwoman waited outside with them for a cab that was ordered by the county. After more than two hours of waiting, the cab had not shown and had been misdirected to Port Jefferson village instead of Port Jeff Station. 

She said the event showed there was a missing piece to available transport for the homeless, who are often very hesitant to accept assistance from the government in the first place. If she wasn’t there, the councilwoman said, she felt the homeless couple would likely never have gotten in the cab to go to a shelter.

“This is basically a backstop measure in case of an emergency,” Cartright said. “Everybody is clear whose responsibility [transportation for the homeless] is.”

“This is basically a backstop measure in case of an emergency,  everybody is clear whose responsibility [transportation for the homeless] is.” 

– Valerie Catright

In the letter, Kaiman wrote that he was aware of the incident in October but described it as an “infrequent occurrence.” 

The county provides tokens for public transportation to the homeless in need of transit to a shelter, and on occasion Suffolk will facilitate pickup with a taxicab.

Cartright has sponsored the resolution since early October, but the bill has been tabled two times, Oct. 3 and 24. Both times Councilman Neil Foley (R-Blue Point) moved to table the resolution and was accepted by the supervisor and all council members, except for Cartright. 

Romaine said he and the board initially thought they had the support of the county through Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), however, the letter, he said, disproved that assumption. The supervisor added he had no means to put forward an MOU without the consent of the county.

“I think we should defeat this until the county expresses an interest — it takes two to tango,” Romaine said. “We don’t have the willingness and cooperation from the county of Suffolk.”

He later added that transportation for homeless individuals was under the county’s jurisdiction, and not of the town’s.

“It’s like asking the county to pave our roads, they don’t do that,” he said. “That’s why we have different levels of government.” 

Hahn released a statement on the ongoing discussion.

“We are in the process of discussing the possibility of a multijurisdictional solution with cooperation between the Town and County to address a specific community concern identified by Councilwoman Cartright,” the legislator said. “It is premature to identify details before we have an agreement between the two municipalities.”

Eaderesto said, upon speaking to county attorney Dennis Brown, that the request should have come from the Department of Social Services rather than just from Hahn, who cannot speak for the entirety of the Legislature.

Councilman Dan Panico (R-Manorville) asked for their intentions not to be misinterpreted.

“This has never been put together properly on the county’s side,” he said. “The deputy county executive said he has no interest … If we can fill that need and truly fill that need, not just saying we do on paper, because it really isn’t the purview of the town government, it’s squarely the county’s purview.”

Cartright said after the meeting she is hoping the town and county attorneys can sort out differences between the two municipalities, adding she feels such a resolution is necessary, and it conforms to previous resolutions that offered town services in emergency situations with New York State Department of Transportation.

The councilwoman and other members of the Quality of Life Task Force will meet with the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association, Dec. 17 at the Comsewogue Public Library, where they will discuss homlessness and other area issues. 

 

RIBBON CUTTING

After almost six years of running their online business, Chocology Unlimited, the Johnson family -— Linda, David and Madeline — recently took the step of opening a brick and mortar shop at 1099 North Country Road, Stony Brook. 

A two-day celebration, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, took place last weekend. The Johnsons were joined by family, friends, chocolate lovers and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, who presented the Johnsons with a Certificate of Congratulations on behalf of the Town of Brookhaven and wished them well on their new venture. 

“We are so proud to have you as another business in an established place where I can come every day to get some chocolate!” said Cartright.

“A  visit to our shop is fun, educational and very, very tasty.  It’s a celebration of all things chocolate,” said Linda Johnson.

The celebration featured chocolate tastings, live music by Robin Eve and Don Michael Prager, a reading and book-signing event by children’s book author Darren Sardelli, a magic show by The Amazing Alexo, demonstrations by Karen Gebbia of NY Academy of Makeup and  a reading and book signing by children’s author Stephanie Sorkin. 

Chocology features different chocolates from unique vendors from all around the globe. Some of their products include fudge, artisan chocolates, bean to bar chocolates, along with Kosher, paleo, nut-free and gluten-free items. 

Proceeds from their fudge sales are always divided among three charities — Americas VetDogs, Stony Brook Cancer Center and their Kindness Campaign.  

Store hours are Monday and Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. For further information, call 631-901-7151 or visit www.chocologyunlimited.com.

— By Heidi Sutton

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for the village’s latest restaurant, Due Baci (Two Kisses), on Sept. 25.

From left, owners Patrick and Maria Aubry, Maria’s father Joseph Cuffaro, and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright; back row, from left, sons Yannick and Nicolas with a proclamation from the Town of Brookhaven

Owners Patrick and Maria Aubry were joined by family, friends, staff, Mayor Margot Garant, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright and members of the chamber to celebrate the momentous occasion.

“On behalf of the chamber we welcome both Maria and Patrick to our restaurant community, our business community. Best of luck and congratulations,” said chamber president Joy Pipe.

“I’m one of your biggest fans … and wish you lots of success,” said Mayor Garant. Councilwoman Cartright presented the Aubrys with a proclamation from the Town of Brookhaven and also wished them well before the ribbon was cut.

Located at 154 West Broadway, the family-run restaurant offers southern Italian cuisine in a fine dining experience overlooking Port Jefferson Harbor. Open for lunch and dinner, hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, call 631-377-5111.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

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Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, center, honors Black Women’s Equity Day Aug. 21 with local young women and officials. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

In honor of Black Women’s Equity Day Aug. 22, local women gathered together to raise awareness about the enduring problem of pay inequality and its effect on women of color.

Brookhaven town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station), along with Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights), Babylon town Councilwoman Jackie Gordon (D-Copiague) and Victoria Gumbs Moore, Esq., spoke with children in the Keep Your Change program in North Amityville and other young women at Bethel AME Church in Setauket Aug. 21. The women led activities with the youth to illustrate pay disparities and discussed the effects on families and community. 

“Unequal pay and discrimination impact a woman of color as an individual, it impacts her family and the larger society,” Cartright said. “As the mother of a young Haitian-American girl, I want my daughter to know that her mother fought for equal rights and equal pay for women of color when I had the opportunity.”

Speaking at the meeting, the women spoke to the young people about the continuing culture surrounding issues of pay equity.

“I am proud to say that this experience has given me faith that these issues will not be allowed to endure another generation,” she said.

Moore, a past president of Amistad Long Island Black Bar Association and past president of Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association, said young black women need to know their inherent value.

“It’s important that young women know their value and learn that being paid anything less than their full value is unacceptable,” she said.

Jean-Pierre said the issue needs to be addressed in every instance. 

“We won’t achieve real economic justice unless we confront this issue head-on, and I was pleased to join some of my colleagues to help start and continue this much-needed conversation,” she said.

The Black Women’s Equity Day is Aug. 22 this year. It was commemorated by the National Bar Association, which asked its membership to participate nationwide.

Photo by Jackie Pickle

RIBBON CUTTING

The Three Village Artisan & Farmers Market celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 31. Manager Linda Johnson (center) cut the ribbon aided by Patty Cain, vice president of the Three Village Historical Society (left), and on right, Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Johnson’s husband, David.

Located on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket, the open-air market offers a selection of locally grown vegetables and fruits, pickles, fresh salsa, baked goods, local honey, jams, cheese, artisan breads, fudge, locally made jewelry, lemonade, gluten-free offerings, live music and much more every Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. through September. In addition, the Historical Society’s exhibits will be open from 3 to 5 p.m. for just $1 entry.

 For more information, please call 631-901-7151.

Emma S. Clark Memorial Library board members and  staff, the family of the late Helen Stein Shack, local elected officials, representatives from the Three Village Central School District and guests from the community gathered on April 8 to honor the winners of the fifth annual Helen Stein Shack Picture Book Award ceremony.

The contest called for teens in grades 7 through 12 who live in the Three Village Central School District to create a children’s picture book.  Each entry could be the work of a single author/illustrator or a collaborative effort between an author and an illustrator. The contest was divided into two grade categories, grades 7 through 9 and grades 10 through 12, with one first-prize winner and one second-prize winner selected from each group.

Library Director Ted Gutmann, along with the family of Helen Stein Shack, Legislator Kara Hahn and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright presented all of the winners’ books — bound and added to the Library’s Local Focus Collection. 

In addition, $400 checks were awarded to first-prize winners Nicole Xiao, an eighth-grader at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School, for her book, “Gerald’s Share” and Juliet Weschke, a 10th-grader at Ward Melville High School for her book, “You Saved the Earth: A Plastic Bottle’s Journey.” Checks for $100 were awarded to the second-prize winners Riley Meckley, a ninth-grader at P.J. Gelinas Junior High School, for her book “Lily and Liam’s Summer at the Library” and Nicole Freeley, an 11th-grader at Ward Melville High School, for her book “Simon’s Day at the Beach.” 

The speakers discussed how the contest and ceremony began 5 years ago as a tribute to the late Helen Stein Shack, especially fitting due to her love for learning and her particular fondness for Emma Clark Library. “We would come visit my grandma for a week, and she would take us straight here,” explained Mrs. Shack’s granddaughter Emma Kelly, who flew in from California for the event.

Councilwoman Cartright mentioned to the family that it is “such an amazing way to honor your mom and your grandma’s legacy, her commitment to education, recognizing that literacy is power.” 

Leg. Hahn spoke of the special lessons in each book. “When it’s a children’s book, the message does not only get through to the child. The message also gets through to the parent that’s reading it,” she said.

The winners also received certificates from Sen. John J. Flanagan, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Hahn, Brookhaven Supervisor Edward Romaine, and Cartright. Library board President Orlando Maione, Vice President Deborah Blair, Treasurer Christopher Fletcher, Secretary Carol Leister and trustees David Douglas and Suzanne Shane were also there to congratulate the winners. 

Three Village Central School District board of education President William Connors, Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Kevin Scanlon, Gelinas Junior High School Principal Corinne Keane, Ward Melville High School English Department Chair Vincent Cereola, Gelinas Junior High School English Department Chair Michelle Hanczor and Gelinas Junior High School Librarian Nicole Connelly were all in attendance.

Guests enjoyed special treats donated by The Bite Size Bake Shop, a local Three Village-owned business and Ward Melville High School teen volunteer Ashley Mullen photographed the event.

The library is grateful to the children of the late Helen Stein Shack, who have established a substantial endowment with the library to cover the cost of the awards as a tribute to their mother and her commitment to passing along the importance and joy of reading for generations to come.

Mrs. Shack’s son, Ed Taylor, spoke about the hard work and dedication that the winners and all of the participants have shown, and then imagined a glimpse into their futures. “These kids are going to grow up, and hopefully, they’ll have families of their own … and one night their kids are going to be lying in bed and ask for a good night story … and they’ll take a book off the shelf, and they’ll read it to their kids … and then they’ll tell them who the author was. That they wrote that book.”

Added Cartright, “I’m delighted today to encourage you to continue using your creativity to share with others, to uplift others, because that’s what you’re doing by creating these books.”

All photos by Ashley Mullen

BJ Intini and Lois Reboli of the Reboli Center accept the Community Recognition Award with presenter Beverly C. Tyler

CELEBRATING THE THREE VILLAGE COMMUNITY

The Three Village Historical Society held its 42nd annual Awards Celebration at the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook on March 27. The evening recognized volunteers, local businesses, society members and area residents who have made significant contributions to help preserve the shared heritage within the Three Village area. Honored guests included the Setauket Harbor Task Force, Michael Tessler, Leah S. Dunaief, Patricia Yantz, Morton Rosen, Steven G. Fontana, the Reboli Center for Art and History, Maura and Matthew Dunn of The Holly Tree House, Marcia Seaman and the Prestia family of Bagel Express. Legislator Kara Hahn and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright also attended to honor the winners.

All photos by Beverly C. Tyler

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Stony Brook residents Don Estes and Dan Kerr will lead a morning interdenominational prayer service at All Souls Episcopal Church in Stony Brook beginning Jan. 30. Photo from Dan Kerr

Through prayer, a Stony Brook church is connecting further with the surrounding community.

The doors of All Souls Episcopal Church on Main Street are always open for all to pray or to enjoy activities such as its Saturdays at Six concerts, Second Saturdays poetry readings and Shamanic Drumming events. Beginning Jan. 30, the church will offer a weekly interdenominational morning prayer service led by Stony Brook residents Dan Kerr and Don Estes.

“If you start your day with a reading from Scripture, and a little reflection on Scripture, whether its Old Testament or New Testament, it gives you a framework that helps you realize that there’s a bigger picture.”

— Dan Kerr

Kerr, a church volunteer at All Souls, said he starts every day with structured prayer time and believes the new service is a natural progression to what the church has been doing. The congregation connects with approximately 500 people from the community through its events, he said, and many have asked for something such as the new morning service.

“The vision of this is that we have a relationship with all these 500 people, but we’ve never invited those 500 people to come and pray with us,” Kerr said.

He said the prayers and readings they will use at the interdenominational service are ones that all Christians will recognize and all religions can appreciate. Kerr said both he and Estes believe “any day that begins with prayer is likely to be a good day.”

“If you start your day with a reading from Scripture, and a little reflection on Scripture, whether its Old Testament or New Testament, it gives you a framework that helps you realize that there’s a bigger picture,” Kerr said.

Estes, a Methodist who attends Stony Brook Community Church at 216 Christian Ave. and former commodore of Stony Brook Yacht Club, said he was looking for a morning prayer service for a while, so when Kerr brought up the idea, he said he would be happy to help. Estes said starting the day with prayer every day had helped him through difficult times, especially when his wife Judy was battling Alzheimer’s disease before her passing last year.

A retired TWA pilot, Estes said he’s also been inspired by his travels around the world that allowed him to witness others’ prayer practices and his wife’s spirituality. He thinks a prayer group such as the All Souls one helps people figure out how they should be and what the day should be like for them.

“A prayer in the morning gets you started in the right direction for the day,” Estes said.

“It’s been a big help to me to meet the challenges of the day,” he said.

“In the morning, our minds tend to be the most clear and free from problems.”

— Tom Manuel

Tom Manuel, president and founder of The Jazz Loft, was pleased to hear the service would be offered.

“The secret of a close relationship with our God is to prioritize our first time each morning in prayer,” Manuel said. “In the morning, our minds tend to be the most clear and free from problems. Setting our course and focus on God is a great way to commit the day ahead to him.”

Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said she commended Kerr and Estes for joining the community together with prayer.

“This early morning service reminds me of my grandmother who attended Mass every morning,” Cartright said. “Her devotion to starting every day with prayer has had a great positive impact on my faith. Prayer has always been such an important part of my personal and family life. It helps to keep me grounded, and it helps to keep me connected to God. Our faith communities are stronger when we can come together and pray together. Faith is one of the important ties that bind us together.”

The interdenominational morning prayer service will be held every Wednesday beginning Jan. 30 at 7 a.m. The service will run approximately 30 minutes, according to Kerr, and people of all faiths and traditions are welcome to attend. For more information, call 631-655-7798. All Souls Episcopal Church is located at 61 Main St., Stony Brook.

County Legislator Kara Hahn and Stony Brook resident Cindy Smith at a Nov. 10 press conference to propose a county initiative for Flowerfield in St. James. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Local legislators are paying attention when it comes to the concerns of Stony Brook residents regarding the proposed development of a land parcel in St. James.

At a Nov. 10 press conference held on the steps of Smithtown Town Hall, it was announced that Suffolk County Legislators Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) and Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) introduced a bill in the Legislature asking the county to begin the process of purchasing more than 40 acres of property currently owned by Gyrodyne LLC. The first step is an appraisal of the land, which runs along Route 25A and borders Stony Brook Road and Mill Pond Road. The goal is to preserve the open space, known locally as Flowerfield, while continuing to lease the few older buildings to small businesses and artists currently renting.

The announcement was made a few days before a public hearing regarding the Gyrodyne subdivision proposal at the Smithtown Town Planning Board’s Nov. 15 meeting. On Nov. 13, the bill was approved during the county Legislature’s Environment, Planning & Agriculture committee meeting and will be voted on in the general meeting Nov. 21.

“We are for smart, sustainable development, and this isn’t sustainable in the area it happens to be in.”

— Cindy Smith

Cindy Smith, founder of the Greater Stony Brook Action Coalition, thanked Hahn, Trotta, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) and Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) for their support. Smith founded the coalition after the Suffolk County Planning Commission approved the conceptual subdivision of the 62 acres of land owned by Gyrodyne at an Aug. 2 meeting. The proposed plan includes a 150-room hotel, two medical office buildings and two assisted living facilities. There is also the possibility of opening a street behind University Heights Drive that would lead to Stony Brook Road.

“We know already what it’s like when development is done and things happen in your backyard,” Smith said of why she was hosting the press conference. “All of a sudden there’s a tremendous amount of traffic.”

The Stony Brook resident said she doesn’t want to see the same thing  occur in Smithtown, or see things get worse in her area. Due to increased traffic over the years from Stony Brook University and the Wireless Center, which borders the Gyrodyne property, she said residents along Stony Brook Road, where she lives, have witnessed 18-wheelers using the street, drivers littering and historical characteristics in the area disappearing. During rush hour, Smith said emergency vehicles have difficulty traveling down the street.

The coalition founder said no traffic studies or environmental assessments have been conducted by the county and there has been no estimate of the impact on the local infrastructure.

“We’re not against development,” Smith said. “We are for smart, sustainable development, and this isn’t sustainable in the area it happens to be in.”

“This is not the proper use of this parcel, and we would like to see it preserved.”

— Kara Hahn

Hahn, chairwoman of the Environment, Planning & Agriculture Committee, said if the land is developed it could harm local bays and waterways, and agreed it would overburden roads and increase the dangers of traveling in the area. The hazards of 25A and Stony Brook Road are something she is acutely aware of after being involved in a head-on collision at the intersection in April 2001.

“This is not the proper use of this parcel, and we would like to see it preserved,” Hahn said, adding that she asked Trotta if she could take the lead on the bill because she felt it was critical to her district.

Cartright, who was in attendance to represent the Town of Brookhaven and spearheaded 25A-visioning meetings in the Three Village area during the last year and a half, said the main concern of Stony Brook residents was traffic congestion in the area, especially at the juncture of 25A and Stony Brook Road.

“Today there is an alternative that is being presented by our county Legislature and that is to preserve this vital open space,” she said. “And we stand in support of the preservation of this land.”

Englebright said he wrote a letter to the New York State Department of Transportation asking it to deny any application for curb cuts on 25A. He said the town needs to change the zoning in Smithtown. While it made sense for the property to be zoned for business when Gyrodyne tested helicopter blades, the assemblyman said it should no longer apply to the residential area.

“If this proposal is allowed to go forward it will paralyze the communities of Stony Brook and St. James,” Englebright said, adding it would bring mid-Manhattan-style traffic to the area. “It will be like driving a stake into the heart of St. James.”

Gyrodyne could not be reached for comments by press time.