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Pond Path

A 1920s farmhouse sits on the property and will be demolished if efforts to save it are unsuccessful. Photo from Herb Mones

The Town of Brookhaven Planning Board closed a public hearing regarding a subdivision proposed for East Setauket at its June 6 meeting and placed it on its decision calendar.

The eight-lot preliminary subdivision which will feature a cul-de-sac and include a drainage basin is located at the southeast corner of Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket. The application was submitted by Anthony Martino, president of Winmar Homes based in Ronkonkoma.

Three residents and representatives from the Three Village Civic Association, George Hoffman and Herb Mones, attended the June 6 meeting to express their concerns regarding the board approving the preliminary subdivision with the consideration of cluster treatment by the developer.

The approximately 6 1/2 acre property, zoned as residential, is known locally as the Selleck property. On the property is a 1920s farmhouse that the developer plans to demolish. The civic association has asked for it to be protected.

The civic association and residents also listed concerns regarding the recharge basin, traffic and elevation of the planned houses.

Mones said time is needed to reflect on the development that has been used for farming in the past.

“It deserves a little more careful scrutiny and concern from the Planning Board in our opinion,” he said.

The civic association members also believe there is a better alternative to dealing with water runoff than a recharge basin, which will have a chain link fence around it.

Hoffman compared the recharge basin to a 1950s sump and said the development does not represent good planning. He said the corner of Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road is “the most prominent part of this community — it’s a very busy section.” 

Michael Kelly, who lives close to the planned development, said the thought of a recharge basin near his home keeps him up at night. He said there are others in the community that have not been maintained, are overgrown and “havens for rodents.”

Kelly added with an elementary school across the street that there is already enough traffic and accidents in the neighborhood, where he has lived for five years. Kelly said he has already witnessed a couple of accidents where speeding drivers have hit telephone poles.

Colleen Gitto, who also lives nearby, wanted to be assured that each lot would be a half an acre and was concerned that the two-story houses proposed may be elevated more and those homes would overlook nearby properties.

Patchogue-based attorney Larry Davis, representing the developer, said all lots would adhere to the 22,500 square feet required by the town, which is slightly more than half an acre.

Anthony Zalak, of J.R. Holzmacher Engineering in Ronkonkoma, said regarding the recharge basin they are bound by the town requirements, and it is designed to comply to the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, which requires 9 inches of rainfall to be held.

“If a recharge basin was eliminated, or diminished in size, that stormwater would have to go to some other systems which of course would be precast,” Zalak said.

He added that an estimate would be more than 70 leaching pools, which he said would have to be spread out through the subdivision roadway or in a combination of Upper Sheep Pasture and Pond Path. The plan is for red cedar trees along the roadways to screen the recharge basin.

Zalak said there will be no added elevation of the homes from the current plan.

He added that no traffic study has been conducted because eight parcels do not dictate the need for a study.

The engineer said some interim plans have been submitted to the town to try to include the existing farmhouse which involved clustering of the new homes.

“The layout of the entire parcel itself, its elevation to the east is much higher than down to the roadway at the west on Pond Path,” he said. “The configuration of this parcel layout involves cutting the roadway in and shaving it down — we’ll say from access on Upper Sheep Pasture. So, trying to retain that existing house really doesn’t work out well at all for conforming lots and configuration of the roadway to come in through the middle of the whole parcel and have a cul-de-sac of the property conforming to the cul-de-sac to the south side.”

The next day Mones said that the consideration for clustering that has been proposed by the developer does not allow enough land for the preservation that the civic association had hoped for.

Planning Board members said before placing the subdivision on its decision calendar, that the first decision would be for the preliminary subdivision. Since it would not be a final approval, there will be revisions and another public hearing will be held once final plans are completed.

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

On the agenda for the Town of Brookhaven Planning Board June 6 meeting is an eight-lot preliminary subdivision with cul-de-sac and drainage basin located at the southeast corner of Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket.

A decision on the application submitted by Anthony Martino, president of Winmar Homes based in Ronkonkoma, was tabled at the planning board’s May 16 meeting.

The approximately 6 1/2 acre property, zoned as residential, is one that the Three Village Civic Association has been keeping an eye on. At a meeting earlier this year, members were given an update on the parcel. According to the civic’s land use chair, Herb Mones, the wish is that a “more responsible site development can be submitted.”

Known locally as the Selleck property, Mones said it is the last local farm south of Route 25A. On the property is a 1920s farmhouse that the civic wants protected and not demolished. Members also hope that the newly built homes will be clustered, leaving more than 2 acres to be preserved.

Last year it was determined that the property was sufficient for nine lots according to L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven.

The Brookhaven Highway Department, in a letter to the planning division last year, made several recommendations, including curbing and sidewalks on Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road and removing/replacing the existing curb on Pond Path at the intersection.

Last November, representatives from the Three Village Civic Association met with developers.

According to the civic, the parcel, which is near Nassakeag Elementary School and the town-owned Merritt-Hawkins House, was once part of the Merritt-Hawkins farmland.

The Town of Brookhaven Planning Board meeting can be viewed on the town’s website, www.brookhavenny.gov, or attended in person. The meeting begins at 4 p.m. on June 6.

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Suffolk County police officers are searching for the driver of a Land Rover, similar to the one above, who left the scene of an accident. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police 6th Precinct crime section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the person who left the scene of a motor vehicle crash in Setauket in the beginning of January.

A person driving a white Land Rover with no front bumper or front license plate fled the scene after colliding with the rear end bumper of a 2011 Ford pickup truck at 490 Pond Road in Setauket Jan. 12 at approximately 11:50 a.m.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about this incident can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, texting “SCPD” and message to “CRIMES” (274637) or by email at www.tipsubmit.com. All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

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Firefighters battle a fire at Brookhaven Cat Hospital Oct. 7. Photo by Dennis Whittam

By Bob O’Rourk

The Setauket Fire Department tackled a challenging rescue Oct. 5, and just two days later, fought a significant fire during the evening of Oct. 7.

Setauket firefighters rescue a driver from a dump truck that crashed into a large tree on Pond Path. Photo by Bob O’Rourk

On Oct. 5 at 2:08 p.m., the department was called to rescue the driver of a dump truck that crashed into a large tree on Pond Path near Robert Crescent in Setauket, crushing the side of the driver compartment and pinning the motorist under the dash. Both of the fire department’s heavy rescue crews combined to finally release the victim after an hour of work to free his legs from the steering column and dashboard, which had collapsed into him.

With the truck lodged firmly against a 12-inch diameter tree, and the driver’s legs pinned, medical attention was given while he was in the cab and continued until he was freed. He was alert throughout most of the hour he was pinned in the truck.

The truck and driver were part of a crew of contractors, operating for PSEG, who were clearing the power lines along a private driveway that extends from Pond Path for more than 300 feet. The newly paved driveway has some sharp falloffs in several areas. One of those drop-offs apparently caused the truck to veer into two robust trees.

The fire department responded with two heavy rescue trucks and a pumper as well as numerous medical personnel and an ambulance. During the time the driver was pinned, he received a number of injections to relieve pain. Once he was freed, he was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital for further medical care.

Suffolk County Police Department Emergency Service also responded and aided with hydraulic tools to supplement those used by Setauket Fire Department personnel.

Firefighters battle a fire at Brookhaven Cat Hospital Oct. 7. Photo by Dennis Whittam

On Oct. 7 at 7:28 p.m., the department was called to a fire at the Brookhaven Cat Hospital at 60 Route 25A in Setauket. The fire was significant and inside a building with many rooms. Two other businesses also occupied the building.

The fire was reported via an automatic alarm. The first responders noticed significant smoke coming from the building and called in the signal for an actual fire which evoked mutual aid from Stony Brook, Port Jefferson, Centereach, Terryville, St James and Selden fire departments, as well as Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Nesconset and Port Jefferson ambulances.

Heavy fire was encountered upon entry to the building. It took firefighters more than two hours to bring the fire under control. There was significant damage to the roof as well as the interior spaces. The SCPD Arson Squad and Town of Brookhaven fire marshal were called to determine the cause, which at this point is still under investigation.

The fire was contained to the cat hospital areas in the building. According to the business owner, three cats were inside. Two were found deceased, and the third one is unaccounted for at this time. One firefighter suffered a minor injury from heat exhaustion and was transported to a local hospital.