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Three Village area

Community leaders still await land use codes for Route 25A in Setauket after a visioning report was approved by the town in 2017. File photo by Rita J. Egan

In 2016, the Route 25A Citizen Advisory Committee, consisting of community leaders and elected officials, was formed to envision a better Route 25A in the Three Village area.

At the end of 2017, the Brookhaven Town Board adopted the visioning report, resulting from those meetings. The report included recommendations to create a safer roadway with quality buildings, improve pedestrian and bicycle-friendly activities and preserve historic and natural open spaces along the corridor. The next step was for the town to begin developing land use codes based on the findings in the report. The land use planning phase would be the most significant as the new zoning codes developed would help guide the future development of businesses and affect the community for years to come.

George Hoffman, president of the Three Village Civic Association who co-chaired the advisory committee, said there have been hurdles along the way. These obstacles have included the pandemic shutdowns, members of the town Planning Board retiring and former town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) running for and winning her bid as New York State Supreme Court justice. Cartright also had difficulties securing funds for a planning consultant to help write the codes, which would have cost $200,000, according to Hoffman, while she was in office.

Hoffman said there is new hope that the land use planning process will begin as he and Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) will meet with the new planning commissioner at the beginning of March.

Hoffman said the earlier community meetings included the town hiring a planning company to help organize the focus groups and to write the report that was a result of the meetings. The members discussed a variety of subjects, including whether to allow mixed-use development, which many felt wouldn’t be the right  fit for the area.

The civic president said it has been a frustrating journey, especially as a similar process has been conducted in Councilman Dan Panico’s (R-Manorville) district and has been completed.

Hoffman said community leaders and elected officials had a consensus over what was needed. 

“I don’t think it was a radical change, but there were areas we were concerned about, “ he said.

Among those areas are the southeast corner of Nicolls Road and Route 25A where buildings have different architecture and signage and the area around East Setauket Pond Park, which lies on the western side of Se-Port Delicatessen on Route 25A. Many also expressed concern regarding the former Baptist church in Stony Brook, west of Stony Brook Road.

“Right now developers are driving what the development will be on 25A and not the community and the town,” he said. “That’s why you want the land use plan.”

Kornreich said he believes there are opportunities “to add amenities that are of the quality that people would expect in a community like this.”

He added in addition to taking the recommendations made by the visioning committee and adapting to land use codes, there are other strategies, too.

He said one opportunity is talking to property owners along 25A in the Three Village area.

“I started sitting down with the property owners in that corridor to see if we can find ways to bring them together to see if we can work together, maybe by them combining their properties and looking at things in a more imaginative way,” he said, adding it may lead to more dramatic and impactful solutions.

“Part of it is just simply using the existing rules that we have now to try to encourage people to redevelop their properties,” the councilmember said.